Director: Peter Howitt
Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Tim Robbins, Rachel Leigh Cook, Claire Forlani, Yee Jee Tso
MPAA Rating: (for some violence and brief language)
Running Time: 2:00
Release Date: 1/12/01
Review by Mark Dujsik
Quick. Name an easy corporate target. The majority of people will immediately name one man: Bill Gates. Itís no small coincidence that the software tycoon of AntiTrust looks and sounds like the richest man in the world. Itís even more obvious when itís revealed that this tycoon is facing charges of creating a monopoly. This real life tie in is by far the most interesting aspect of AntiTrust, a thriller thatís about as boring as watching someone writing computer programming and probably as tedious as actually writing it.
In the movieís introduction, we learn that Gary Winston (Tim Robbins, obviously having a lot of fun with the role) is facing antitrust charges from the Department of Justice. We also learn his philosophy of capitalism: "Any kid working out of a garage can put us out of business." And so, enter two kids working out of a garage, Milo Hoffman (Ryan Phillippe) and Teddy Chin (Yee Jee Tso). Theyíve come up with a program, and Winston is interested in it. Teddy refuses to even visit with Winston, but Milo thinks this is the chance for him to make a break. Apparently, Winston sees Milo as the perfect asset to his new project, called Synapse. Synapse will "fully unite the global village," making all forms of data transfer connected.
Milo accepts the job, and soon he learns that foul play may be worth suspecting. He doesnít catch on to things quite so quicklyógeniuses have a tendency to do that. There are a lot of hints here. Right after Winston shows Milo a new program, the news reports that a localized computer programmer is dead. Then there are even more programs that Winston brings to Milo, but the little guy still doesnít catch on. Even after Teddy is killed and Winston brings him yet another program, Milo doesnít even consider the possibility of foul play until Winston quotes a favorite phrase of Teddyís. Apparently from now on, Milo can trust no one, not even his girlfriend Alice (Claire Forlani). Although he does seem to make an exception for a fellow coworker Lisa (Rachael Leigh Cook).
Thereís a lot set up early in AntiTrust. We know that Winston and his company are involved in illegal activities. We know that Milo is being used, although itís never clear why. I think killing him off would have been much easier, more economical (he gets a new car as a perk), and much safer (Milo is the only one who could possibly discover Winstonís plan). Strangest of all, we learn that Milo is allergic to sesame seeds. Seem a little odd? It comes into play later. We also learn of the bad guysí plans early on. We know about decoy buildings. We know about satellites. We know about programmer deaths. We know that Winston must be spending more on surveillance and cover-ups then on any work he may be doing. So when Milo spends about five minutes discovering things we already know on a computer screen, itís quite boring. It also gets extremely annoying. As each new piece of information is learned, the camera inexplicably zooms in on Miloís face and the important information. The longest revelation sequence has the most unmotivated zooms Iíve seen in a movie.
Milo must be a real genius, because the plans he comes up with require perfect timing and psychic abilities. On top of that, he must also have superhuman speed and agility, as he is able to hide from someone in a tight spot within seconds. However, he must not have a lot of common sense, because he actually reaches for a roll with sesame seeds on it near the beginning. Then again, thereís the scene where the sesame seed allergy setup is used. In it, he actually uses a fork to perform an allergy test on himself, in case the food his girlfriend prepared may have seeds in it. The two women switch loyalties at will, and it is hard to know who to trust, I guess.
AntiTrust suffers mostly because of one major flaw: watching people type on computers is boring. Most of the "excitement" comes from scenes where at least one character is typing. The climax actually pits Milo against Winston in a typing contest. If that sounds thrilling, this may be the movie youíve been waiting for.
Copyright © 2001 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.
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