Movie Review: August
By Ron Wilkinson Jul 18, 2008, 15:21 GMT
August centers on two brothers fighting to keep their start-up company afloat on Wall Street during August 2001, a month before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. ...more
If you want to see ignorant self destruction, see Troy Duffy in “Overnight” and forget this film---the worst mistake Josh Hartnett has made in his career
Director Austin Chick, who directed Sundance darling “XX/XY” and co-produced (with 18 others) the great “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” has directed the indie flop of the summer with this rehash of the fabled days of dot-com instant millionaires.
The film stars Josh Hartnett (“Blackhawk Down,” “Pearl Harbor”) as filthy rich but apparently brainless dot-com entrepreneur Tom. Tom sets world-class records in stupid arrogance, but, then, that’s what the film is about; world class arrogance that leads a stupid person to ruin. At least it leads him to ruin at the hands of David Bowie, who plays a rich, powerful lawyer. It’s hard to figure which is worse, being stupid and arrogant or being destroyed by David Bowie the lawyer.
Actually, Bowie is a very good rich and powerful lawyer. He hates Tom and takes exquisite joy in squashing him slowly, like a fly under the thumb of a cruel child. But we don’t mind, because we all enjoy seeing Tom squashed, too. In fact, after seeing this film most of us would rather director Chick and screenwriter Howard A. Rodman had been squashed, too, before they had a chance to waste hundreds of minutes of footage on this flounder.
Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel and Ben Affleck set the standard for the best rotten-soul film in the last ten years with Ben Younger’s nasty as a rusty razor “Boiler Room.” Director Chick apparently told Hartnett to do as they did and Josh did his best. But to no avail. He comes across as one dimensional as an EKG and is nothing more than a cartoon of a tragic character.
Instead of the “Boiler Room” model, Hartnett should have studied the real McCoy---Mark Brian Smith’s great documentary of “Boondock Saints” legend in his own mind, screenwriter Troy Duffy. In that film, “Overnight,” Duffy went from bar tender to Miramax golden boy and back to bar tender in about six months. The great thing about Duffy was that he thoroughly enjoyed the trip. At least most of it. Hartnetts’ character Tom appears to be so miserable making others miserable that we can’t even enjoy the occasional good old fashioned passing out drunk experience that seemed to be Duffy’s specialty.
Tom has his choice of women, but there is that one special woman who left him. She left him because he is, well, stupid. But, in the course of this film Tom runs into Sarrah and, you know, tries to turn on the old magic again. But Sarrah, played by Naomie Harris, is too smart for that gambit. She sees Tom for what he is, which is so blatantly obvious to the rest of the world that one would think she is nearly clubbed unconscious with his brainless behavior. Screen chemistry? Forget about it. The two look at each other like LED screens.
Adam Scott rounds out the lead roles as Joshua, the genius behind the dot com. Tom is Bill Gates with a frontal lobotomy and Joshua is Tom Allen with a trimmed beard. OK, next? Reading a Windows training manual is more interesting.
Director: Austin Chick
Written by: Howard A. Rodman
Starring: Josh Hartnett and Adam Scott
Release: July 11, 2008
MPAA: Rated R for language and some sexual content