Making the Grades
Milo Hoffman (Ryan Phillippe) and his three buddies are excitedly trying to attract start-up funding for their new software company. But no sooner are the computers hooked up in the garage-based business when the phone rings. Answering, Milo is greeted by computer tycoon Gary Winston (Tim Robbins), chief of a multi-billion dollar high-tech firm called NURV. When Milo accepts the dream job he offers, it creates a schism between the friends, especially with Teddy (Yee Jee Tso) who believes the business giant is unethical.
A lover of windows--in his mansion that is--Winston's bizarre house is the hub of his new global communications network, while his company headquarters looks like a set reject from Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Giant computer mice and keyboards adorn buildings full of toys, potato chips, and pop machines. As Milo begins his new career, his boss eagerly contributes more computer code than Milo thought anyone person could possibly write. But when Milo learns of the death of two of his friends, one brutally murdered with a club (which we see two times), his life crashes down around him. Investigating, Milo discovers a diabolical plan that makes him the next target.
Attempting to create a movie with many twists, screenwriter Howard Franklin instead creates his own antitrust situation with the audience. Faster than you can format a floppy, characters change their intentions without any motivation explained on-screen. The plot holds "you can't trust anyone" messages toward coworkers, friends, employers, and is particularly critical of big business. Of even more concern for parents will be the violent death portrayed and frequent use of profanities including a sexual expletive.
Obviously drawing on the Microsoft scenario for its story, and casting of the Winston character (although the script makes mention of Bill Gates in what appears an obvious disclaimer, likely suggested by the studio's lawyer), AntiTrust doesn't offer a lot of byte for the buck--unless you or a teen are familiar with, and trumpet the "open source" movement in the computer industry. However, if you think Linux is Charlie Brown's best friend, this is not the show for you.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about AntiTrust.
Linux is an operating system that controls the functions of your computer, similar to the way Windows 98, Windows ME, or Apple’s OS9 works. The difference is that Linux has been created by many different people from around the world, and is available virtually for free. Many other computer programs are available for Linux as well, most of them for little or no cost.
The people who have created Linux and its accompanying software feel computer information should be open and available to everyone without cost. How do you feel about that? Do you think computers would be as advanced as they are today if there was no money to be made on software? Is there room for both “open source” software and commercial software?