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ANTITRUST

SYNOPSIS:
Young Milo (Ryan Phillippe) is a computer whizz kid working in a garage with his friends who see a brave and bright new world where computer software is shared freely. But when the computer billionaire head of NURV, Gary Winston (Tim Robbins), offers Milo a chance to work on the groundbreaking Synapse program that will deliver instant communication to all electronic devices simultaneously around the world, Milo accepts the challenge. Or the temptation, as his friends see it, to sell out. As the deadline for the announced launch of Synapse approaches, Milo is at the forefront of the action, until he discovers that the company he works for believes that the end justifies the means. Any means. And there is no one to trust, not even his girlfriend, Alice (Claire Forlani).

"Big brother is watching. Who do you trust? Who can you trust? Gripping, involving and edgy, Antitrust is an entertaining suspense thriller set in the world of high technology, where idealism intersects with commercialism. It's a little like The Firm with computers or Enemy of the State meets Wargames. While the formula is tried and true, the enjoyment is in its execution: the characters are well formed, the script carefully paced. A well made thriller, the high tech production design looks great, and there's a rhythmic soundtrack that pumps us up with expectation and tension. Tim Robbins makes for a compelling software corporation mogul; I felt throughout that indeed Big Tim was watching… and what an imposing, charismatic actor he is. I always marvel how different hairstyles change his look entirely. Here his greying coif is severely parted on the side, giving him a kind of geeky, salesman (albeit it successful) kind of look. As you would expect with the super-super rich, the contrast between the billionaire world of Gary Winston and everyone else's is well pronounced. Winston has a pad to die for – a super-cool, spacious, ultra-modern mansion (something you would find in Architectural Digest), complete with digital canvas paintings that change to paintings you like when they recognise you are in the room. Oh, and you will also hear the music you like too. Of course. Who wouldn't be tempted? Ryan Phillippe is appealing as the young computer genius who embraces the new job with toys, until his conscience is alerted. Good to see the original Shaft's Richard Roundtree in a cameo that packs a punch. Just as in Vertical Limits when the characters are prepared to do anything to be the first (to climb the mountain), in Antitrust, the same non-ethical, man-eat-man philosophy is applied. I especially enjoyed the slow revelation of which character belongs to whose team (and payroll) – this is where the psychological mind-games etch their way into our psyche and a big question mark is raised over absolutely everyone. It's a thrilling race against time, and while the finale may be tinged with a touch of melodrama, it's a satisfying conclusion, and an engrossing adventure about control, power and conscience."
Louise Keller

"Our early suspicions that Tim Robbins’ Gary Winston is a thinly veiled blast at Bill Gates is only partly discarded when a line of dialogue refers to Gates directly in an attempt to throw us off the scent. But this is really irrelevant, in any event, since the film is a fairly routine, if well made routine, suspense thriller about a clash of good and evil, represented here by altruistic computer programmers versus enterpreneurs who cheat and lie (and worse) to reach world domination – in marketing terms at least. Superbly realised from the techno point of view, Antitrust has a message inside its stylish packaging, and it’s a message that will appeal to the millions of computer-literate filmgoers who dream of free access to killer software. The story also deftly cuts to the deep with its observations about corporate evils in a flashback to Greed is Good days, but with a digital twist. It’s certainly entertaining enough to be a success, even though it is predictable and rather ham fisted in the final reels. Solid performances and sharp editing lend a hand to director Peter Howitt’s efficient work. It isn’t very emotionally involving, but it isn’t dead, either."
Andrew L. Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

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TRAILER

ANTITRUST (M15+)
(US)

CAST: Ryan Phillippe, Rachael Leigh Cook, Claire Forlani, Tim Robbins

DIRECTOR: Peter Howitt

PRODUCER: Nick Wechsler, Keith Addis, David Nicksay

SCRIPT: Howard Franklin

CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Bailey

EDITOR: Zach Staenberg

MUSIC: Don Davis

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Catherine Hardwicke

RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 25, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: October 31, 2000







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