Movie stars require a quality of aggression - at least if audiences are going to feel wired to their every move. In films like The Squid and the Whale (2005) and Adventureland (2009), Jesse Eisenberg, his head lowered and jutting like a faithful dog's, has played anxiously fast-talking, insecure nice guys, and he has often been marvelous. Yet he's staked out the kind of youth-neurotic terrain that, by definition, can never be electrifying. In The Social Network, the thrillingly intense, enjoyable, and resonant new drama about the founding of Facebook, Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg, the brilliant, ruthless Harvard student who rejiggered the spirit of the Internet age. From the opening moments, the actor grips you with the armored force of his verbal attack.
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