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DVD Pick: 'The Social Network'

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DVD Pick: 'The Social Network'
© Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

A Partly Fictionalized Account of the Creation of Facebook

Jesse Eisenberg gives a superb performance as a fictionalized version of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network (2010), a riveting film that picks up on the zeitgeist of the early 21st century. Facebook launched in 2004 and only six years later had over 500 million users, turning Zuckerberg into a self-made tycoon worth several billion dollars while still in his 20s.

The film starts in 2003 when Zuckerberg is an obscure upper-middle-class 19-year-old student at Harvard. His girlfriend dumps him, and in one night, while drunk, he creates a website called Facemash where users are presented with photos of Harvard girls and interactively choose which one is the hottest. But the story unfolds in flashback as the movie dramatizes events that take place a few years later when the rich-and-famous Zuckerberg, CEO of the wildly successful corporation Facebook, is shown in depositions, defending himself against lawsuits.

The film chronicles Zuckerberg's rise to fame and fortune, including his relationship with his one-time best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and his dealings with the Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer and Josh Pence), who founded the HarvardConnection website. Another part of the story involves Zuckerberg teaming up with Napster cofounder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake).

The film features sparkling dialogue, moves at an exhilarating pace and is often funny. It does a brilliant job of painting a portrait of Zuckerberg as an unlikable, self-absorbed, driven genius seeking status and recognition at any cost.

Bonus Materials

On DVD, The Social Network is a two-disc set that contains about two-and-three-quarter hours of video bonus material, and some of this video can be watched while listening to four different audio tracks.

The principal offering is "How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook?", an hour-and-a-half making-of documentary that shows director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin working on the film in Boston and Los Angeles. Fincher does lots of takes, 99 on the opening scene alone. The documentary also shows how Armie Hammer and Josh Pence played the Winklevoss twins with Hammer's face and voice used for both characters.

There are three featurettes about the music, including composer Trent Reznor on the Swarmatron, an instrument he used for making electronic music. Other featurettes present the film editors and sound designer discussing post-production and the cinematographer and director talking about the visuals. In addition, there's an extra that gives different looks at and audio tracks for the sequence set at the San Francisco nightclub Ruby Skye.

Finally, the DVD set provides a pair of feature-length audio commentary tracks, the better of the two being by director David Fincher. The other audio commentary is by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and key members of the cast, including Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Josh Pence and Justin Timberlake.

DVD Release Date: January 11, 2011
Total Runtime: 2 hours 0 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Sexual Content, Drug and Alcohol Use and Language

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