Antitrust

"Excellent"

Antitrust Review


The "paranoia thriller" can be beautiful or an ugly beast of burden. Most often, the audience is dragged through the most obvious of situations with a knucklehead of a leading man trying to find out who or what has destroyed his life, all without being able to trust anyone or anything. American audiences eat this stuff up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

With heavy cynicism on the brain, I sat down to watch AntiTrust with a smirk on my face. Here's the story: A young computer geek Milo Hoffman (Ryan Phillippe) lands a dream job with a large computer conglomerate, N.U.R.V. -- which stands for Never Underestimate Radical Vision. The company is run by eccentric, power-hungry Gary Winston (Tim Robbins) who needs Milo on his team to complete a new worldwide satellite communication program called Synapse, which will link all communication devices -- pagers, PDAs, and cell phones -- into one universal system. Leaving behind his dot-com family, Milo joins N.U.R.V. but gets suspicious when Gary keeps giving him discs full of code with no apparent author on staff. When Milo's friend is killed in a supposed hate crime, Milo begins investigating the inner workings of N.U.R.V. with the help of his girlfriend, Alice Poulson (Claire Forlani). During his investigation, Milo discovers exactly how Gary disposes of the competition, when of course, the dream job begins the nightmare he can't wake up from.

It sounds stupid to write it. It sounds stupid to read it. I didn't think AntiTrust would work because every "serious" computer-related movie always plays on the ignorance of its audience in the methods it uses to sell the idea of the movie, with unbelievable technology, interfaces, and the like. That was the main reason why Charlie's Angels and The Net were so stupid. I also assumed that paranoia thrillers had gone completely from being intelligent material like that in The Parallax View and Three Days of the Condor into becoming Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer/Tony Scott summer action messes. I was wrong on both counts.

AntiTrust works because of a combination of strong acting, a smart script written by Howard Franklin (writer of Someone to Watch Over Me and The Name of the Rose), and deft directing by Peter Howitt (Sliding Doors). Tim Robbins puts together a wonderful villain that is reminiscent of his work in Arlington Road, another great thriller. He plays Gary Winston with the anger of Steve Jobs, the intelligence of Bill Gates, and the capitalistic zeal of Ayn Rand. Phillippe, Forlani, and Rachael Leigh Cook all deliver great performances in cat-and-mouse games played throughout the film. All of the characters are smart; none are cliches. The calmness of Milo and his determination to make good on the immoral actions of his mentor Gary equally impressed me.

While the cast is great, the best part of the film is the message it says regarding the capitalistic greed of Gary Winston and the altruistic motivation of Milo Hoffman. It's actually a surprisingly apt think piece about corporate power vs. open source.

Now, if I could only sync up my Palm Pilot with my Macintosh.

Check out the AntiTrust DVD if you're a fan of the film -- here's your chance to pause and deconstruct all that code that scrolls across the screen. Some of it's legit HTML and C, some of it's subliminal messaging about greed and money. The nightmares, the mightmares! Also included are a dry commentary track and making-of doc, plus a handful of deleted scenes that include the (lame) original ending. But in one scene Rachael Leigh Cook appears in a bra, so there's that.

A room of one geek's own.



Antitrust

Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th January 2001

Box Office USA: $11.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $17.8M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: MGM/UA

Production compaines: Industry Entertainment, Epsilon Motion Pictures, Hyde Park Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 24%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 81

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Milo Hoffman, as Lisa Calighan, as Gary Winston, as Alice Poulson, as Lyle Barton, as Larry Banks, as Phil Grimes, as Redmond Schmeichel, Yee Jee Tso as Teddy Chin, Nate Dushku as Brian Bissel, as Bob Shrot, Scott Bellis as Randy Sheringham, Zahf Paroo as Desi, Jonathon Young as Stinky, as Lawyer, Rick Worthy as Shrot's Assistant, Ian Robison as Lawyer, as Danny Solskjær, Ed Beechner as Ken Cosgrove, Linda Ko as Gary's Secretary

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.