Tagline - Truth Can Be Dangerous... Trust Can Be Deadly.
Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Rachael Leigh Cook, Claire Forlani, Tim Robbins.
Directed by Peter Howitt (II), Writing credits by Howard Franklin.
Rated: PG-13 (some violence and brief language).
Genre: sci-fi / thriller (/ cyberpunk?)
end blatant data theft from imdb
This node shouldn't really be considered a node unto itself but more a differing perspective about the movie from other wus here. As an aspiring hacker / geek wannabe I feel its something of a moral duty to point out otherwise. Please note that spoilers follow. In a nutshell - Antitrust did have one good point which was I felt myself challenged to explore new limits of my vocabulary to attempt to describe how downright goofy this movie was - you may have realised by now that I failed, but it was a pleasant learning experience nonetheless.
The entire film was so contrived, so badly acted, so corny, so convoluted, so inconsistent and so downright stupid that only my geek/IT interest and a perversely morbid fascination kept me watching it.
The storyline revolves around one Milo Hoffman, a talented hacker (with a potentially fatal allergic reaction to sesame seeds) who, upon graduation, is offered a too good to be true position at NURV - a Portland IT super company that is infamous for playing dirty in the business arena.
Anyhoo Milo - with Gary Winston, CEO of NURV as his sugardaddy - soon becomes suspicious of his company, and after investigation finds out that... NURV is not only stealing revolutionary concepts (in the form of code) from freelance hackers, but also killing them. Now at this point one should look askance at the title of the movie, because when a corporation is stealing ideas and killing people, it strikes me that 'antitrust' - if we even consider it to be relevant at this point in time - is something of a MASSIVE FUCKING UNDERSTATEMENT.
Indeed the blatant naming of the movie brings to mind certain other recent events. NURV does indeed come across as a microsoft clone - we even find out later that the CEO of NURV does infact have those Bill Gates dynamic picture things (they do attempt to seem less pathetic by effectively dealing a cop out to themselves - "Bill Who?"). In truth, the film is about as subtle as an atom bomb, and while I am not against Microsoft bashing, in this case it strikes me as fairly bad taste.
Later other even stupider plot developments reveal that Milo's long term girlfriend is an agent of NURV, who he suspects of trying to kill him via his sesame seed allergy. He then turns to a fellow employee - plot writers felt for some unfathomable reason that she would be sexually abused as a child - at NURV who in turn betrays him. Milo also tries to go to the Department of Justice to find out that the agent investigating NURV happens to work undercover for them. This is discovered because the agent's contact name happens to be that on his football jersey (Stupid is stupid but this is just stupid, ok?). Then, when all seems lost, his girlfriend abruptly decides to side with Milo and saves the day. It is also then revealed later that Gary knew exactly what was going on all along and only his titanic incompetence dealing with the matter allowed Milo to emerge victorious.
While there is nothing glaringly wrong with the acting, it is largely robotic and seems to leave that something missing in dramatic or emotional scenes. Things don't develop, they just happen.
I noticed xunker praised the movie for its technical accuracy - I can't actually think of anything in the movie that was technically specific enough to actually be accurate. I do remember that the start of the movie was overlaid with html tags while Milo was powercoding what we ostensibly guess to be killer apps (I don't know many programs that are written in html). Furthermore Milo was able to figure out that pieces of code were technological breakthroughs after looking at them for 10 seconds - this seems a bit far fetched.
As I finish this wu of blazing rhetoric let me make a final point - Hackers vs Antitrust. Anybody who was looking at Hackers and trying to derive a serious, in-depth movie out of it was looking in the wrong place. Hackers is a slapstick, hyperbole, look at the computer world, portraying it as a glamarous cyberpunk environment. It is factually wrong, contrived, silly... but it is fun. It is stylish, and it is cyberpunk. In a sense it even ironically embodies one of the central concepts of cyberpunk - style over substance.
In contrast, if you're trying to derive anything apart from goofyness out of Antitrust, you're looking in the wrong place. As a technical/sci-fi movie it offers nothing exceptional. As a drama it is limpdick. As a thriller it is pulp fiction.
Goofy goofy goofy.
In all justice I felt that I should mention there was one cool thing It just occurred to me that there was one cool part in the show - when Milo's friend makes a bandwidth
breakthrough and says:
"The answers not in the box. It's in the band"
Maybe a little corny and totally nonsensical, but catchy phrases are how trends are set. Regrettably the moment is ruined when Gary repeats this to Milo, and the audience is able to experience firsthand Milo's hallucinogenic mental breakdown via a spasm of seemingly meaningless scenes as our noble protagonist realises Gary is actually a bad, bad man.