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Bob Smithouser

Movie Review

The Firm meets The Net in AntiTrust, a high-tech thriller in which a ruthless Bill Gates clone hires a young computer genius to help him link every communication device on earth. Robbins plays the manipulative software billionaire. Phillippe (who cut his acting chops as daytime TV’s first gay teen on One Life to Live) is Milo, the self-proclaimed “geek” who trades his idealistic zeal for a shot at the big time.

Almost immediately, strange events and suspicious deaths lead Milo to question his employer’s moral fiber. After-hours snooping proves him right (fortunately for Milo, this computer-savvy megaconglomerate videotapes and archives its own violent crimes and other incriminating evidence). But where will our hero turn? He can’t trust anyone, not even his live-in girlfriend who may actually be waiting to exploit his potentially fatal sesame seed allergy! What ensues is a fairly engaging cat-and-mouse game that ends with Milo turning his boss’s new technology against him and delivering a blow to greedy capitalists everywhere.

AntiTrust is your basic one-man-against-the-system story crafted as a hacker’s fantasy. The high-tech battle of wits. The thrill of the chase. But part of that fantasy is sexual as Milo and his girlfriend enjoy physical intimacy (implied) outside of marriage. Beyond romanticizing cohabitation to its target audience of adolescent boys, the film also features profanity, alcohol use and images of a man being beaten to death.

Mildly redemptive elements notwithstanding, AntiTrust contains moral glitches that may not make teens’ systems crash, but definitely won’t help them run any smoother.

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Bob Smithouser