Anyway, the twins lose the regatta, too, by a nose, which allows Fincher to justify the scene by thematic reiteration: sometimes very close is simply not close enough.
It’ll be a long time before a cinema geek comes along to push Jesse Eisenberg, the actor who plays Zuckerberg, off the top of our nerd typologies. The shifty boredom when anyone, other than himself, is speaking. Eisenberg even chooses the correct nerd walk: not the sideways corridor shuffle (the Don’t Hit Me! An extended four-minute shot has him doing exactly this all the way through the Harvard campus, before he lands finally where he belongs, the only place he’s truly comfortable, in front of his laptop, with his blog: Oh, yeah. If it’s a three-act movie it’s because Zuckerberg screws over more people than a two-act movie can comfortably hold: the Winklevoss twins and Divya Navendra (from whom Zuckerberg allegedly stole the Facebook concept), and then his best friend, Eduardo Saverin (the CFO he edged out of the company), and finally Sean Parker, the boy king of Napster, the music-sharing program, although he, to be fair, pretty much screws himself.
), but the puffed chest vertical march (the I’m not 5'8", I’m 5'9"! It’s in Eduardo—in the actor Andrew Garfield’s animate, beautiful face—that all these betrayals seem to converge, and become personal, painful.
(“Final clubs,” says Mark, correcting Erica, as they discuss those exclusive Harvard entities, “Not Finals clubs.”) He doesn’t understand what’s happening as she tries to break up with him. To create this Zuckerberg, Sorkin barely need brush his pen against the page.
We came to the cinema expecting to meet this guy and it’s a pleasure to watch Sorkin color in what we had already confidently sketched in our minds. To get money, which leads to popularity, which leads to girls.
The arbitration scenes—that should be dull, being so terribly static—get their power from the eerie opposition between Eisenberg’s unmoving countenance (his eyebrows hardly ever move; the real Zuckerberg’s eyebrows never move) and Garfield’s imploring disbelief, almost the way Spencer Tracy got all worked up opposite Frederic March’s rigidity in another courtroom epic, Inherit the Wind.
Still, Fincher allows himself one sequence of (literal) showboating.
Then again, the more time I spend with the tail end of Generation Facebook (in the shape of my students) the more convinced I become that some of the software currently shaping their generation is unworthy of them. From the opening scene it’s clear that this is a movie about 2.0 people made by 1.0 people (Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher, forty-nine and forty-eight respectively).
It’s a talkie, for goodness’ sake, with as many words per minute as His Girl Friday.
This despite the fact that I can say (like everyone else on Harvard’s campus in the fall of 2003) that “I was there” at Facebook’s inception, and remember Facemash and the fuss it caused; also that tiny, exquisite movie star trailed by fan-boys through the snow wherever she went, and the awful snow itself, turning your toes gray, destroying your spirit, bringing a bloodless end to a squirrel on my block: frozen, inanimate, perfect—like the Blaschka glass flowers.
Doubtless years from now I will misremember my closeness to Zuckerberg, in the same spirit that everyone in ’60s Liverpool met John Lennon.
Manicured eyebrows, sweaty forehead, and that coked-up, wafer-thin self- confidence, always threatening to collapse into paranoia.