Watching the reviews come in for The Social Network is like watching Secretariat run that last race. How good will they get? Another 100 scorer. Manohla Dargis closes her review this way:
Mr. Fincher pointedly abandons his smudged browns for a gauzily lighted sequence of the twins rowing at a tony British club that, with the edges of the image blurred and movements slowed, looks like a dream. This is a world of rarefied privilege in which men still wear straw boaters, and royalty blathers within earshot. Mark isn‚Äôt invited, not because he‚Äôs poor (he isn‚Äôt), but because this is a closed, self-reproducing system built on exclusivity and other entitlements, including privacy. (The movie refers to Mark‚Äôs being Jewish, and the twins look as if they crewed for the Hitler Youth, but that‚Äôs just part of the mix.) Mark doesn‚Äôt breach this citadel, he sidesteps it entirely by becoming one of the new information elite for whom data is power and who, depending on your view of the Internet, rallies the online mob behind him.
‚ÄúThe Social Network‚Äù takes place in the recognizable here and now, though there are moments when it has the flavor of science fiction (it would make a nice double bill with ‚ÄúThe Matrix‚Äù) even as it evokes 19th-century narratives of ambition. (‚ÄúTo be young, to have a thirst for society, to be hungry for a woman,‚Äù Balzac writes in ‚ÄúLe P√®re Goriot.‚Äù) The movie opens with a couple in a crowded college bar and ends with a man alone in a room repeatedly hitting refresh on his laptop. In between, Mr. Fincher and Mr. Sorkin offer up a creation story for the digital age and something of a morality tale, one driven by desire, marked by triumph, tainted by betrayal and inspired by the new gospel: the geek shall inherit the earth.