Friday, August 29, 2008

"August" - Not a hot one

Since Jessi and I won’t always be looking at the same discs, I will occasionally try to match her- domino style, in shaker ratings. My two shaker selection would be the indie tale “August” set in the long ago time of the oft mentioned dotcom bubble burst of 2001. This film has some things going for it, including a moody electronic score that seems almost a funeral dirge. Not only a comment on the death of the optimism of the startups, but also an anticipation of the horror of September 11th which would occur the following month. It is filmed in a casual laidback style with some good cinematography. It also has a predictable plot with cliched characters.

Josh Hartnett does his best as Tom Sterling (wow- like currency), the hotshot CEO of a down and going dotcom he has started with his techie brother. They have a distant relationship that you think will lead somewhere- it doesn’t and the same goes for an ex-girlfriend architect who is so ‘brick and mortar’. His dad (Rip Torn) doesn’t respect him and quietly mocks how his suspiciously idle staff just sit around eating Oreos. The techie brother finally displays an emotion outside of that of the doting family guy, by berating Tom for sending their dad a b-list Buddha as punishment. (Like Bill Murray sending folks towels in “Scrooged”) Meanwhile the TV blasts heavy-handed reminders of the time frame- look everyone- Aaliyah just crashed! Ben Affleck is in rehab! Hartnett’s character is just an asshole and you don’t really buy all that gibberish tech jargon they make him spout about his beloved company “Landshark”. (No Chevy Chase does not reprise his SNL role)

“What do you do?” Torn pleas for the audience. Yet the purpose of the company is as much as an enigma as the soul of the characters here. David Bowie appears as an old school suit who wants to take over the firm. When you think Wall Street blue-blood- Bowie is not who comes to mind but he is welcome just because we need someone to call the main character out. If you see two documentaries of this period: “E-dreams” and “” you’ll see more compelling tales of the dotcom crash. This one is all atmosphere and set up, but it just doesn’t click.

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