Reviewed by: Charity Bishop
Better than Average
Year of Release:
January 12, 2001
If you can overlook the obvious nitpicking on Bill Gates and Microsoft, “AntiTrust” is actually an enjoyable teen thriller. Milo Hoffman (Ryan Phillippe, “Cruel Intentions”) is a computer programmer fresh out of college. His dream is to work for a high-stakes company… which he finds in a hot Portland-based firm under the iron hand of one of the most brilliant men in the industry, Gary Winston (Tim Robbins). Packing up and moving both himself and his live-in-girlfriend (Claire Forlani, “Meet Joe Black”), Milo has everything he’s ever dreamed of… a personal workspace, access to intense programming, and job security.
Gary Winston’s company has intentions to have the first global networking system that can bypass any other programming, and literally take over the industry. Without Milo’s genius, it’s impossible to meet his deadline. But Milo’s dream job begins to turn nightmarish when he discovers that there is more to the business than he first believed. Handed programming tips whenever he hits a loop, he finds it difficult to understand how Gary can get his hands on so many key codes. And when his boss shows a violent temper when further provoked toward the truth, it’s merely the first hint of what lies ahead.
A twisting and suspenseful teen thriller is “AntiTrust”. It plays with your mind in the fashion of “The Net” and has the heart-pounding reality of “Frequency.” The players are well set up from the first credits… the powerful Gary, the wannabe Milo, his less-than-secure girlfriend, and then the beautiful computer programmer (Rachel Leigh Cook, “Josie and the Pussycats”) with a horrific past. Unfortunately, it also embraces an unmarried couple’s obvious sexual relationship (implied through scenes in which we find Milo sleeping next to Alice) and profane language, which includes one use a sexual expletive, several uses each of “Jesus,” “God,” and “Christ.”
The violence is apparent but not overly graphic; we see a murder, first implied and then fully on a blurry computer screen in which a programmer is beat with a baseball bat. Alice is glimpsed in her bra and often wears cleavage-revealing outfits. There are some weird cartoon almost-porno pictures in the background at a party. The characters drink champagne several times, and there is a mention of a child being molested at a young age.
Looking past the content (which isn’t that apparent, save for the profanity), the film is a very well-thought-out and meticulously-acted one that keeps you guessing. The trailer provokes, “Trust is not an option,” and comes true during the course of the film as Milo tries to unravel who his friends really are. Mistaken identities, traitors, manipulation and nail-biting sequences of computer wizardry make for an action-packed thrill ride that teen audiences will adore, if they have any interest in the Internet.
A side note would be that the original production would have been more offensive than what was actually released to theaters. The first draft included a sexual relationship between Milo and his beautiful computer friend Lisa, which was cut because it seemed rushed. Amen. It could have been better, but for now the film does a good job of standing on its own two feet. Generally I avoid offensive films like the plague, but this one made it onto my television and I enjoyed it for what it was.
I would suggest that parents screen it before allowing teens to view it, but overall it’s less offensive than most of the thrillers out there, and an excellent alternative to some of Hollywood’s more recent productions.