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

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

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.