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I missed The Social Network in theaters.  I was interested in it, but I just wasn’t completely sold on the story … not only that, when a film gets the types of accolades it has, I kind of begin to get worried about the film not living up to expectations.  It’s happened time and time and time again that a film is adored by the critics and I end up hating it.

But I’m a huge fan of director David Fincher – I mean, who doesn’t love Fight Club, or Seven?  In fact, those two films are definitely in my top 10 films of all time.  Still, Fincher’s output since then hasn’t really intrigued me – I enjoyed The Game (which was actually before Fight Club), but I haven’t seen Zodiac or Benjamin Button, and really disliked Panic Room.

The Social Network is out now on Blu-Ray and DVD, so I figured now was the time to give this flick a shot – it’s on a number of “best of 2010” lists, and, as you can see from the cover of the Blu-Ray box, is pretty much universally praised.  Is it worth all the hype?

If you haven’t already heard (and how haven’t you?), The Social Network tells the tale of how Mark Zuckerberg not only created Facebook, but became the youngest billionaire in the world, and turned his best friend into this enemy.

The Social Network is the only time I can think of, in recent memory, where a film with this amount of hype actually didn’t disappoint me.  It is an amazing film, quite possibly one of the best films of not only 2010, but of the 2000’s,  featuring fantastic writing and acting all around.  Jesse Eisenberg, who everyone compares to Michael Cera (but I hate Michael Cera) does an incredible job leading the ensemble cast, which includes new Spider-Man Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake playing Sean Parker, the creator of Napster.

It’s a young man’s Scarface for the modern times, replacing cocaine with the internet, essentially.  A rise and fall story that can only end in tragedy.  And though Zuckerberg doesn’t end the film in a hail of bullets, he does manage to lose everything in his life except his money and his company, and the whole parable of the tale?  Money can’t buy you everything.  It’s an obvious lesson to be learned, but The Social Network doesn’t beat it into your head.

My main complaint about the movie is that, in the last half hour, when things get at their pique, it seems to lose its way a bit – there’s more of a race to the conclusion, and I feel like the character bits that made up the first 90 minutes get a little lost to the story.  Given an extra 15/20 minutes, I feel like I would have had a more satisfactory impression of the ending, but even as it is, the film is damned fantastic, and garners high praise – it’s just shy of perfect though.

David Fincher, while losing some of the flair that he had in his earlier works, is still no less of a technical mastermind.  There are so many special effects (including twins played by one actor) in this film that will go unnoticed to the average moviegoer, but I guess that’s the point?  If it took you out of the film, it would kind of be pointless.

Don’t rent The Social Network.  Just buy it.  You’ll want to watch it over and over again.  Despite the fact that I just finished watching it, I want to see it again, and catch all of the bits of conversation that I missed, and enjoy all of the character moments and the stellar acting.  A truly stellar work.

Paul's Awesomeness Score - 9