a movie that revolves around one certain theme or lifestyle can be
very awkward. Quite often, such movies fail at the theaters because
they can be downright boring if you're not familiar with the jargon
and customs of that specific lifestyle. The 2000 box office failure
but video-store success "Boiler Room" is a prime example of
that type of movie.
"AntiTrust," the latest release from MGM, does not fall
into that trap at all. Yes, the movie revolves around a software
programmer and his tyrannical, monopolizing billionaire boss. But
director Peter Howitt and screenwriter Howard Franklin ("The Man
Who Knew Too Little") manage to avoid the kind of computer
drivel that makes even Harvard professors scratch their heads, and
certainly gives the average male a couple extra hours of sleep. Sure
there are a lot of lines about computers and programming specifics,
but Franklin crafts the script and plot so that you don't ask, you
Phillippe ("Cruel Intentions," "The Way of the
Gun") plays Milo Hoffman, a computer programmer genius who is
torn between a low-paying but honorable future or a spot in NURV, a
top software company under investigation by the Department of
Justice--but the spot can also make Hoffman a billionaire eventually.
Hoffman takes the job, and NURV CEO Gary Winston (played by Oscar
nominee Tim Robbins of "The Shawshank Redemption" fame)
immediately takes Hoffman under his wing and puts him to work on
revolutionary communications software.
Winston's quirky behavior and split-second rages of anger lead
Hoffman to wonder what exactly is going on behind the scenes of the
production of the new software, and what he finds is a vicious system
used to negate potential competitors and remain at the top of the
game. Hoffman then enters a maze of friends and enemies, and becomes
confused, along with the rest of us, about who he can and can't
trust. It's all part of a very entertaining plot that contains enough
twists and turns to keep it interesting, but also possesses enough
continuity so that viewers don't leave the theater wondering what the
hell just happened.
important performance is the Hollywood debut (and the old McDonald's
commercials don't count) of the sesame seed.
acting was so-so--after Phillippe. Phillippe has always played very
different roles from one flick to the next, and the addition of the common-sense
equipped but genius Hoffman should go even further to establish him
as one of the major players in Hollywood in the first decade of this
new millennium. Robbins, as usual, is not outstanding but completely
believable, and relative newcomers such as Claire Forlani ("Meet
Joe Black") and Rachel Leigh Cook ("She's All That")
also do fairly well. The original Shaft himself, Richard Roundtree,
even makes an appearance. But perhaps the
Phillippe and Rachel Leigh
Cook star in MGM's thriller
in all, "AntiTrust" is a cleverly built movie with a
decent plot, one brilliant actor, and several other average-to-good
actors. The whole "finding out a business is dirty after
becoming an employee" theme has been done before, but not this well.
Bottom line: What else can be said about a movie that makes a bag of
sesame seeds one of the key players?
ask. Just watch.
by Mitch Worthington