With more than half a billion people reportedly using Facebook as of 2010, the social networking phenomenon was due a big screen outing - and director David Fincher proved there was compelling drama to be found in the story of the site's creation and ongoing legal disputes.

The Social Network may essentially be a biopic, but certainly doesn't feel like it - packing in more humour and unexpected events than a more conventional 'true' story would typically manage. The fact that many of the events are based on truth makes the story even more compelling, but Fincher is permitted many liberties with everything from the ordering of events to how the real-life characters are portrayed on screen.

One of the most intriguing aspects of The Social Network is that its protagonist, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg), isn't necessarily touted as the major character to root for. Zuckerberg's perceived character flaws are highlighted as much as his technical strengths, giving the audience more leeway to choose whether or not he deserves the success and controversy that ensued from Facebook's phenomenal success.

This is evident right from the opening scene, when the audience is forced to endure Zuckerberg's ceaseless babbling about the elite clubs of Harvard and watch as he inadvertently pushes his girlfriend further and further away - before taking out his revenge in truly idiosyncratic style by blogging about her 'defects' to the world.

Eisenberg isn't the only star to look out for in this film, which will doubtless propel many previously unknown actors and actresses into the Hollywood spotlight. Andrew Garfield is perhaps the most obvious, having landed the role as the next big-screen Spider-Man, but there's also a surprisingly confident performance from pop star Justin Timberlake, who takes on the complex role of Napster founder and Zuckerberg's mentor Sean Parker admirably.

On a technical level, The Social Network has much to offer repeat viewings - thanks to the effective use of directorial techniques as each character gives their own take on events. The non-linear narrative style has been employed in countless films previously, but here it never feels jarring.

While some may find the technobabble of some scenes a little alienating, it helps to enhance the realism of The Social Network, and ensure its success among casual filmgoers and aspiring programmers alike. Successfully bridging a number of film genres previously believed incompatible, The Social Network DVD is one of the must-haves in any serious film collection for 2011.