Set in the year 2005, a division of the FBI, called "NetForce" has been initiated to investigate Internet crime. A Bill Gates-type character finds a loophole in his new web browser which ... See full summary »
Set in the year 2005, a division of the FBI, called "NetForce" has been initiated to investigate Internet crime. A Bill Gates-type character finds a loophole in his new web browser which enables him to gain control of the Internet. Net-Force, headed by Kristofferson and Bakula's characters set out to stop him. Written by
Brad Herring <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is very much a television movie, a big idea made on a miniscule budget. Made in 1999, and set in the awesome future (everything distant is awesome) of 2005, it is still relevant, and some of its points mean more now than they did then. Tom Clancy obviously researched his subject well for his novel, and some of that made it onto the screen. In order to save money on extras, we are not shown a key funeral scene, but instead see two people sitting in a church afterwards talking about it; at the next funeral scene only two people are present, so that is cheap too. So many corners are cut, the film could be described as 'in the round'. Apart from a powerful and excellent performance by Judge Reinhold as a megalomaniac IT genius and entrepeneur, a larger than life 'down home' performance as the President's buddy by Brian Dennehy, and the super-cool acting of Kris Kristofferson, the rest of the cast are as colourless as wax dummies. The cinematography is atrocious, attempting to create dark brooding atmosphere with low lighting, but instead looking like it was all shot in an old fish tank which someone had forgotten to clean. When one is trying to follow a complex plot, it helps if one can see. Having said all this, the film deals with big issues. It also specifically names 'the evil behind the problem' as 'the New World Order', which is a surefire way not to be given a big budget, so maybe that is why this had to sneak onto the TV screens and not get the full treatment. It is more convincing than less realistic films like 'The Matrix', and has more to say about the real issues as opposed to big screen fantasies. Sometimes the lack of a budget concentrates the mind wonderfully, as Val Lewton proved. If you think about it, it is what we don't see in this film because they couldn't afford it, that we ought to be really worried about. The story was certainly ahead of its time in addressing the deadly issue of the monopolistic bundling of software, and it appears to be a savage attack on Bill Gates, while being careful to avoid getting sued by mentioning him explicitly as someone we don't see, so that they could not be accused of Judge Reinhold's character being a direct portrait of him. However, the messages are there. As one of the main characters says: 'the net has become a means of spreading greed and lust'. If that's what people have inside them, then that is what the amplifier of the net will blast back at us. All of human reality is basically a feedback loop in which we see ourselves for what we are. Maybe the only way to see that truth and still live with it is to see it shot inside a fishtank, so that we can dismiss it. After all, Planet Earth's budget is also too small.
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