Monday, September 15, 2008

Antitrust (2001)

Oh computers, how much widely-varied themed fodder you've presented us with. From computers controlled by AI that take over the world to computers controlled by greedy white guys that take over the world, nothing expresses our uncertainties about our joint future with technology like a classic "computers taking over the world" plot. Am I sensing a pattern? This particular film harps on the essentially epic power lust chord, with a mythical Bill Gates/Steve Jobs composite white dude (played by Tim Robbins) representing the monomaniacal computer lord who steals code from the little guys (all teens to early twenties of course, and, primarily attractive...hmm...) to advance his global domination by satellite and then has his goonies (not the fat, mischievous ones....oh wait.) brutally murder them so that they can't release their stuff open-source. Just think!, the ability to listen to or watch anyone in the world at any given time (as long as you've got a clear satellite shot of course)! But until he can steal or cajole that last bit of code, Robbins is stuck with just using fiber-optic cameras and well-researched files (that is sooo passé). This is where our realistically attractive, unbelievably intelligent Ryan Phillippe comes in, recruited to a giant "campus" in a ridiculously beautiful part of "Portland" (also known as the BC) where all the employees have sweet cars and huge salaries as well as a laid-back, youth friendly working environment (those crazy kids). Robbins even stuffs his face with chips and jabbers on about how awesome coding is to make them feel better about themselves. Sound too good to be true? Or suspiciously like The Firm? Well, you can just guess. Add in a few choice planted hotties (Rachel Leigh Cook and Claire Forlani (which one would you do? Cook looks like a scared baby animal, which is hot, but Claire looks like a screamer, also hot. Hmm.....Mmm....), some ridiculous looking dudes (Sonic the hedgehog; generic, dead, long-haired Asian programme and a couple of indistinguishable gay-faces), Public radio, justification for the working man, a "Knowledge is for the people/Open-source it" rant, totally awesome and beyond our capabilities technologies (a Smart House where the paintings are digital and shift to display the favorite works of whoever's in the room [comic-style drawings for the pretty nerd of course]?) and the take-down of a
massive corporation and you've got a not so subtle computer nerd's wet dream. They even cameoed famous programmers, stole legitimate customs from the big M and A, and used essentially accurate html in all of their shots. Whooooaaaaa. Pretty sweet. And (said in my Fothergill voice)it's based on the true nature of reality (Mmhmm, of course). Basically, it's a splitting image of the issues and concerns of geeky youth at the turn of the century (at least a splitting image of my issues and concerns). And I'm sure Jobs wasn't too happy about it (Gates is way too loopy to even notice...He probably just watches Planet Earth on some massive, room sized, spherical screen [oh god {or should I say Gates?} that would be awesome!]), which can really only be a good thing. All in all, very satisfying.

I deem it: "A new, svelter, generation of Hackers!"

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