Go to Homepage   Antitrust: A Slower Kind of Time

 

Crescent Blues Book ViewsImage:three and a half moon gifMGM/United Artists Studios (DVD), ASIN: B00005AUDW
Some films possess the power to make time seem to go by faster in relation to the actual time elapsed. Most great action films juice up by making the actual running time of the film seem to be far less than the actual passage of time. For example one can, theoretically, watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and age a mere 10 minutes, while the world outside the theater or your living room ages the film's actual running time.

DVD: antitrustThe film Anti Trust, starring Ryan Phillippe and Tim Robbins, presents evidence for the opposite effect. In fact I began evolving my celluloid/e=mc squared correlations during a recent back-to-back screening of Raiders and Anti Trust.

Roughly one hour into Antitrust, I could not believe my clock read 3:13 a.m. when logic demanded the time must be closer to 7 a.m. A script that includes every cliche in the action/horror film handbook combined with a director who can't shoot suspense scenes resulted in a total inability to achieve sustained drive and dramatic momentum. If a speeding rocket hits one meteor, damage can be controlled and acceleration regained. Hit a million of them, though…

Antitrust shares far too many similarities with The Firm. If you watched The Firm you can simply plug in "e-communications" for "tax law", "Ryan Phillippe" for "Tom Cruise" and "Tim Robbins's company" for "Bendini, Lambert, and Locke," and figure out the whole thing without any help from a review. For the rest of the world: computer genius Phillippe, hired out of Ivy League, discovers his new company's shady and murderous dealings.

The film telegraphs its punches from the beginning. In a suspense thriller, when a white Anglo hero parts ways with his minority friend, that minority friend just might as well be the guy In the landing party who wears the red shirt on all those episodes of the original Star Trek. In particular, Chinese, Japanese or Korean friends get to make that one major discovery just before they get iced.

Then come the telegraphed sesame seeds, and all sorts of scenes where a character suddenly knocks or comes from behind, further slowing the film down with rote expectancy. After an accumulation of such meteoric blows, you'll find it wondrous that the film maintains even a thready pulse -- not of originality, mind you, but of at least a decent sense of cutting and editing. But ultimately, the time travel experiment for this brain-dead monkey of a film came to an end before any excitement or interest could be generated.

Michael Pacholski

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