By Gautham Nagesh - 10/01/10 09:52 PM EDT
Pretty much the only topic of conversation in tech circles this weekend will be the opening of The Social Network, a fictionalized portrayal of the founding of Facebook based on Ben Mezrich's book The Accidental Billionaires.
The film was written by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), directed by David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and stars Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook founder Marc Zuckerberg, Andrew Garfield as co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Justin Timberlake as Napster founder Sean Parker. Watch the trailer here.
A Facebook spokesman also sent along this official statement on the film: "The movie might be a sign that Facebook has become meaningful to people -- even if the movie is fiction. What the movie may or may not contain is not what we're focused on. What's matters more is building a useful, innovative service that people enjoy using to connect and share."
Judging by reports of brisk ticket sales and the film's 98 percent rating out of 100 at Rotten Tomatoes, a website that aggregates movie reviews, it appears the film is destined to be a hit despite Zuckerberg's reported distaste for the source material. We'll bring you more on the opening over the weekend, but for now here's a preview from James Berardinelli of Reelviews:
Website development as a blood sport - that's what it comes down to. The Social Network shows that, when pet projects are at issue, nerds can get as nasty and dirty as the most skilled backstabbers and double-dealers. The film, which is a joint product of respected director David Fincher and equally respected screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, accomplishes its multiple goals: create a gallery of fascinating, fully realized characters; chronicle key events in the development and growth of today's most influential social networking site, Facebook; and explore the blurred lines that exist in the amorphous on-line environment where concepts like intellectual property are involved.
Zuckerberg, as represented in the movie, is a multi-faceted individual. This is not the "hatchet job" that has been reported in some media outlets - it shows the good, the bad, and the ugly. Like many highly intelligent people, Zuckerberg is often uncommunicative, intellectually arrogant, and socially awkward. He does not have many close friends and invests himself entirely in the Facebook project...For the most part, we see Zuckerberg as someone who's riding a wave. For those who would argue that he has no conscience, there are plenty of instances when the look in actor Jesse Eisenberg's eyes argues the contrary.