Tuesday, September 2, 2008

August - DVD Review

AUGUST (**1/2) - Starring Josh Hartnett, Naomie Harris, Adam Scott, Robin Tunney, Rip Torn, David Bowie, Andre Royo and Emmanuelle Chriqui.
Written by Howard A. Rodman.
Directed by Austin Chick.

I remember August 2001 very vividly. I'd been working for a dot-com company for four months, and in those four months, the NASDAQ went from 5000 to 2000. I watched that dot-com company buy brand-new computers for every new employee, when computers only a year or two old collected dust in the basement. I remember when we were all summoned to a mandatory meeting at a hotel lobby at 3:00pm that day. How naive I was. I had a lot of stuff saved on my laptop, but at 3:05pm, it was all erased. We were divided into three rooms, and me, my boss, my boss's boss, half the company was laid off. That dot-com eventually sputtered out of existence.

This movie captures the 2001 mood. Everyone's falling apart, and while some egoists refused to see reality, their on-paper empires crumbled around them. I think the one I was at had a good model, but it was bought out by a company from India, and after that there was no clear management or direction. Each department had no idea what the other departments were doing.

This had some details of that time that rung true. But it doesn't really address what led to their company's failure, or what their company does. Sure, there's some techno-jargon tossed around, meant to dazzle those who've never been in business or technology, but for the majority of people they'll see through it. I realized halfway through the movie that trying to figure out what Landshark.com does was like trying to determine Chandler's job on Friends.

Josh Hartnett is good at playing a jerk who's spiralling out of control and losing all his money, and he's dragging down his employees with him. It's an unpleasant flashback to an uncomfortable time when people lost everything, without much insight into the how's and why's.

The highlight is David Bowie, but he doesn't show up until the last five minutes.

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