Antitrust (2001) / Thriller

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for some violence and brief language
Running Time: 109 min.

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Diane Venora, Dennis Storhoi, Vladimir Kulich, Omar Sharif
Director: Peter Howitt
Screenplay: Howard Franklin

Review published January 15, 2001

Are we to assume Tim Robbins has officially given up on his career as a front-line actor now that it appears he doesn't want to choose good films anymore?  After this stinker in a long line of them, it would be hard to convince me otherwise.

ANTITRUST is a highly entertaining film, not because it's good, but because it piles on so many layers of B.S. that one can't help but laugh during almost every scene at how unbelievable it is.

Robbins plays multi-billion dollar computer guru Gary Winston, basically based on Bill Gates of Microsoft (in this movie called Nurv). He has been hiring young hotshot computer whizzes from all over the country and bringing them to his company headquarters in Seattle to work on his plans for global expansion and domination of the media industry. Although plagued by the Justice department, Robbins plows ahead with an all-new satellite system which will make him not only the richest, but most powerful man on Earth. To get his system (SYNAPSE it is dubbed) off the ground, he has been buying software and programmers with the bits and pieces he needs to realize his dreams, and Milo Hoffman (Phillippe) is just such a young man. Milo and girlfriend move up north, despite hearing the admonitions of his friends that he is selling out, and when one of his friends is killed at home under suspicious circumstances, Milo begins to suspect Nurv may have had a hand in the murder.

ANTITRUST a disgraceful lesson in predictable idiocy, the likes of which I haven't seen since ENEMY OF THE STATE. Unlike ENEMY, ANTITRUST can't rise above its ridiculous premise to deliver any legitimate entertainment. Instead, it tries to cover up plot holes and absurdity only by offering more, as if it hoped that you wouldn't have time to think about what a crock the last scene was if it outdid it with an even more unbelievable scene. The script written by Howard Franklin, who has done some decent work before (THE PUBLIC EYE, QUICK CHANGE, SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME, and THE NAME OF THE ROSE), might as well have been written on toilet paper, because that's about the only way it would have proven useful.

Director Peter Howitt started off his career with an auspicious undertaking in SLIDING DOORS, but any indication of his skills have been placed in permanent doubt if ANTITRUST were placed into evidence. Scary music is tossed in at inappropriate times, and what should be suspenseful ends up being shot with such a vacuum of reality that you'll probably only be on the "edge of your seat" because you're doubled over in laughter.

ANTITRUST is so incredibly ludicrous that I can only view the attempt made to give the appearance of intelligence as an insult. This movie is bad enough for non-techies as a thriller, but if you know anything at all about computers the film is nothing less than a brutal assault of stupidity on all of your senses of such magnitude, the government should also crack down on MGM for releasing it.

Well....come to think of it, I guess I can see why MGM didn't deliver this straight to video. ANTITRUST is the kind of movie that could only be viewed on the big screen because it's the only way you'd be able to see the movie while continuously shaking your head in disbelief.

Qwipster's rating:

2001 Vince Leo