Gary Winston (Tim Robbins), the colossally rich, megalomaniacally evil computer visionary in AntiTrust, really isn’t Bill Gates. We know this because Gates is himself mentioned by Milo Hoffman (Ryan Phillippe), a young genius being courted to work for Winston at his giant computer company, NURV.
Yeah, right he’s not. Winston’s hair is hacked in the same thatched-roof style, he wears similar eyeglasses, and, portrayed by Robbins as a boyish dork, the all-powerful head of NURV (Never Underestimate Radical Vision) exhibits all the eccentricities and social ungainliness popularly ascribed to the head of Microsoft. Of course Winston is Gates.
If only AntiTrust could sustain that cheerily paranoid up yours, Satan attitude, it would be a better movie: Certainly it’s as of-the-minute as a new release of Windows.
But it’s also as full of bugs. Milo takes that NURV job, moving to impossibly green Silicon Valley pastures with his artsy girlfriend, Alice (Claire Forlani). Director Peter Howitt, who shuttled alternate reality so effectively in Sliding Doors, nicely establishes the creepy, cultish distrust of outsiders with which the NURV campus maintains insider obedience. But as Milo uncovers proof of widespread treachery, the X-Files-ish pleasures of picking out the trustworthy from the lethally deceitful trails off, hastened by Howard Franklin’s speechy script, and a trite chase begins.
While Robbins has a good time playing the boyish devil, the rest of the principals transmit on an awfully low baud rate. Slow-reacting Phillippe, the always posed Forlani, and a somnambulant Rachael Leigh Cook (as a fellow employee) belong to that genre of young star who looks alive in magazine photographs but bloodless on screen. ”Show me some kind of creativity!” Winston demands of his troops. Microsoft-bashers the country over might demand the same of AntiTrust, which, die-hard paranoiacs are sure to conclude, will fail on Bill Gates’ nefarious command. C