Another bubble Busted

I recently watched August, a movie about a struggling internet company skating on the skin of the dot-com bubble the month before the infamous terror attacks of 2001. August stars Josh Hartnett (40 Days and 40 Nights,30 Days of Night,Lucky Number Slevin) as Tom Sterling, the hotshot co-founder of Landshark, a company that does something having to do with aggregating (google it). I had no interest in August when it popped up on cable, until I realized that (like many other good stories) this movie was all about getting the girl...

okay, so it wasn't TOTALLY about getting the girl, but it SHOULD have been... There is a small segment of the movie that IS about getting the girl. Namely his sexy European bar-tending ex-girlfriend, played by the lovely Naomi Harris. THAT part was awesome, except... well, I'll get to that a little later... But basically, this movie reminds us that creating a remarkable product and selling a remarkable product take two totally different sets of skills. Hartnett's character is a beast at selling... not just selling what Landshark DOES, but what Landshark IS: the Future.

Like a lot of people selling the future, Sterling isn't able to deliver it fast enough for anyone (his girl, investors, his dad, or his brother... the tech-savvy better half of Landshark, played by Adam Scott). Unfortunately, this movie isn't able to deliver either...

I mean, the performances are all awesome. The direction isn't bad either. The storytellers do a good job of creating tension, with the impending doom that we know about but the characters don't (the terror attacks coming the following month, and the long-term downward thrust they deliver to the economy) as well as the company's financial problems that they do know. They use television and movie clips to situate the viewer so that I felt I was back in 2001. But the story really isn't going anywhere... or rather, not anywhere I wanted to go.

Like I said before, what really hooked me was when he runs into his ex and it looks like he is going to rekindle their romance. I mean, I was pretty sure by then that this dude was just a high-powered sales dog whose business was probably going down, whether it was from getting snaked by competitors or by an Al-Qaeda- inspired economic downturn, but at least he would have a hot girlfriend who loved him even before he had loot.
That would have made a good movie, I think... but that wasn't the plan. This movie is a good-ole fashioned tragedy, with all that entails.

Like all of us, Tom is flawed. He's a mildly likable, highly ambitious douchebag, whose futuristic thinking is the real secret of his success, and ultimately his failure. I think I could have stood the movie, even loved it, if the romance was allowed to flourish, like the proverbial rose growing from concrete...
but I guess that wasn't the point, was it? Like a lot of people who are focused on the future, Tom doesn't spend nearly enough time on what's right in front of him.  Tom leverages all his relationships on the future and pays the price for his arrogance, and If you're rooting for him, you will too.
*sigh* SO sad...


J.R. LeMar said...

I saw this. Caught it years ago, while trolling some bootleg movie site (shhhh), and watched it out of curiosity. My feelings about mostly mirror yours. I've always been a fan of films that deal with high-finance in some way, like Wall Street and Boiler Room (also, to some extant, Limitless, which I saw when it came out and highly recommend), and it felt like this movie had all the elements necessary to be truly compelling, but it just didn't quite pull it off.

samax said...


Like I said, I think having him lose everything but still have the girl would have been better.

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