Yet another film about computers! After seeing how Hollywood can glamorize computers (Hackers (1995)), it was interesting to see if a film showing actual code work would do any business. I figured I’d check out Antitrust and see if it proved to be entertaining.
The acting varies greatly. Tim Robbins takes on the role of CEO Gary Winston with gusto, and does a terrific job. Nothing could compare to his performance in The Player (1992), of course, but he does do a great job of trying here. Ryan Phillippe is not too impressive, but he does do well enough to keep up with the rest. Claire Forlani and Rachael Leigh Cook both are a little subdued, but it works pretty well for the film.
The plot of Antitrust is an interesting one. There are enough twists and turns, a few of which were even surprising, which kept the movie from getting dull. There are a couple of great scenes of Phillippe’s character, not knowing who to trust, but trying not to let on he knows something’s up. Antitrust definitely keeps the suspense level high throughout, making it a pleasure to watch.
The whole anti-trust issue has come up recently, thanks to Microsoft’s legal problems, and it seems like this film takes it’s cue from them. You can draw a lot of similarities between Gary Winston and Bill Gates, for example, at least the Bill Gates as he’s been portrayed in other movies (“Pirates of Silicon Valley” (TV), for example). It almost pulls the viewer away from the film, because you keep imagining it is Bill Gates, and they are talking about Microsoft, so whenever they mention Gary Winston or N.U.R.V., you do a double-take. That is inevitable in this type of film, though. They would be hard pressed to talk about a giant computer firm and it’s CEO without bringing up parallels to Microsoft and Bill Gates.
The special effects are pretty good, considering the actors didn’t know much about computers. All of the code in the film is actual computer code, and part of the time the actors are reacting to a green computer screen, not what you see on the screen. It’s a credit to them, because you don’t notice at all. Of course, I’m sure the film editor deserves a bit of the credit as well. It is also nice to see the non-Hollywood version of computing, rather then the cheesy “fantasy world” created in computer films such as Hackers (1995).
All in all, Antitrust is not a bad movie. Tim Robbins does a great job, as do Claire Forlani and Rachael Leigh Cook, and Ryan Phillippe gets it together enough so as not to lag too far behind. The plot is intriguing, and they don’t over-glamorize the computing aspect.
Antitrust is a good Friday night type of film, with enough action and suspense to satisfy most movie fans. It’s worth watching at least twice, to pick up on the extra nuances in character you may have missed the first time.