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Antitrust

Director:Peter Howitt
Writer:Howard Franklin
MGM; PG-13; 120 minutes
Release:1/01
Cast:Tim Robbins, Ryan Phillipe, Yee Jee Tso

Microsoft's paranoid critics may enjoy Antitrust, for the film takes outrageous and loosely veiled shots at the PC giant. Conspiracy theorists may advance one step further, however, claiming that CEO Bill Gates himself masterminded the movie—for the scenes of foul play are so poorly conceived that they unintentionally make light of Microsoft's market dominance. In comparison with such a villainous straw man, the actual Gates comes off as innocent as a cute Pokemon critter who knocks his opponents unconscious but never really kills.

The plot is a standard one: newcomer to a powerful institution slowly realizes that he is surrounded by high-reaching corruption. Ryan Phillipe plays this newcomer. Milo (Phillipe) is a programming genius lured away from his Internet start-up with the salary, Mercedes, and stock options offered by software giant Microsoft—oops, they mean NURV. NURV's head Gary Winston (Tim Robbins) is a Machiavellian dork. Imagine a man who would murder for source code. In an oddly archaic view of corporate crime, Winston uses thugs with baseball bats to maintain his worldwide monopoly on information technology. (Far more insidious are the real Microsoft's plans to sidestep antitrust court orders by externalizing their software and services in an ambitious online tactic called .NET).

Outdated visions of white-collar crime aside, Antitrust features sleepy, unconvincing acting. Nobody's committed. The film's novelty value can't be downplayed, but true opponents of Microsoft should simply abandon Windows and take up the open-source Linux operating system.


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