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|Index||33 reviews in total|
Screened this at the Sundance 2008 Festival. This movie actually caught
me by surprise, it was very hip and surprisingly Josh Hartnett really
brought it. The movie has a modern "Wall Street" type vibe, the story
follows Tom (Hartnett) who is a super confident .com entrepreneur who
is in crisis mode during the downward spiral of the .com stock bust
just before September 2001. Hartnet nails this role with high energy
output and makes this a very watchable flick. Austin Chick the director
is obviously very talented and throws just the right amount of style
and cool music into the film to keep it slick and contemporary which
should broaden its appeal past just the Gen-X group. The one downside
is that the film gives the other characters so little room to make
their presence felt, especially David Bowies character who gets only a
few minutes of face time. Other then that the movie really has a nice
pace and the ending worked very well when you consider all the
superficial things that Americans thought they cared about until Sept
2001, and then realized there are somethings much more important then
money and stature.
Film should get some nice play on the indie circuit, though indie folks probably will be hard swayed to pay over for a Hartnett movie. I would reckon that Josh Hartnett will win over some who doubted him with this performance and maybe even get a little award type talk. I know its hard for me to believe either :)
Perhaps its because i don't really know anything about the stock market
and my ignorance in that area relates to how much i enjoyed the film,
maybe if i knew anything about stocks i would have enjoyed the film as
much as some of the other people who have commented...but i didn't. I
am a fan of josh hartnett and thought the acting was good i just don't
think he and the rest of the cast had anything to work with. Perhaps if
there was more information about there struggling company as well as
more general background info i would have spent less time staring
blankly at the wall and more time staring at the film.
i wouldn't recommend this film to someone like me who knows nothing about wall street but then again i wouldn't recommend this even if you worked on wall street, without more background i think this film has greatly reduced its target audience which could have been potentially every one to a small percentage.
Watched this movie online on Netflix last night. Strange, the movie was
released theatrically July 11,2008 but is not only already on DVD but
can be watched instantly on Netflix.
So not only are movies straight to video but straight to instant viewing. Fine by me. Terrific movie. Critically panned though. Neither critics or fans understood the product this imploding .com company was selling or the fact that the product didn't matter. The plot in August is beset by ominious news stories preceeding "fall".
I thought the movie was terrific. I got it. The scene with David Bowie was SUPERB. I can't tell you enough about his character and the "nose bleed" he gives the protagonist - which comes down to the whole point of the movie and what's important in life. Also important is... the people you crush when rise to the top, you'll see on the way down when you fall. Or however the expression goes. In other words, PLAY NICE.
Josh Harnett's portrayal of Tom, a super confident ballsy CEO of an
internet start-up who sees it all go wonky is much better than
The film scores even more points for avoiding simple messages and instead turns a captivating tale of an internet start-up bankrolled to the hilt who finds its IPO is going south fast into something richer, a true character study.
The relationships, family, work, ex-girlfriend are all handled with a nice touch of real human values, the conversations (mostly) ring true.
And yes, Bowie is great, if rather brief.
All in all, a real surprise, beautifully shot, and well-crafted, and who knew, Josh Harnett can deliver complex characters...
August is a very finite and pointed film. It's a low-flying indie
sleeper that has its points to make and it makes them quite
effectively. Above all it really manages to nail a small moment in
time, that of the dot-com implosion.
I, along with many others I'm sure, was part of a dot com start-up similar in some respects to Landshark. It was very common in those days of over-hyped speculation to bet tons of VC generated start-up capital on IDEAS that looked promising, when in reality much needed to happen before they could be realized. This didn't hold true for all start-ups, but a fair majority.
It's very easy to get caught up in the delusion that you're a "real" company when your stock is shooting up the charts and quite a glass of ice water to the face to realize all that speculated valuation can disappear overnight, which it did slowly over the course of late 2000 and 2001...it was never really there to begin with.
August grabs that bursting bubble in a number of effective ways. As the film progresses, it becomes apparent that for all of Tom's boasting and bluster, he's nothing more than a hyped-up spin doctor. Watching this revelation sink his ego is entertaining if not more than a bit sad. Hartnett does an adequate job with the role.
The most true-to-life scene for me was the mass of staffers flocking around F**kedCompany.com, which was a popular barometer for the sink-age rate of companies about to go belly-up, instead of lounging at their Ikea desks playing solitaire...they're not lazy, they just have nothing to do...no customers, no product.
As a film, this is a tough one to sell to an audience who doesn't have first-hand experience in the story's premise. There is a lot of business/financial terminology/slang thrown around that to those not knowledgeable or interested in it will seem very boring.
It does what Indies do best...present a slice of life, with no pat clichés or feel-good endings. And for that, I liked it.
Good storytelling can either tell you what happens, tell you how it
was, or both. Most moviegoers, the superficial ones, watch a movie for
the "what happens." They want to meet a character that they like and
see something good happen to them with a good in between. And so when
they watch a movie they expect a story and they like it or dislike it
without considering everything that the movie is trying to do. Don't
make that mistake when watching August.
August is a movie that tells a story, a "this is what happened to Tom and his company and his brother and his life", but that is not the REAL of this movie. This movie does a much better job of telling the movie watcher a "this is how it was" than a "this is what happens." So when you watch August, which i think you should, absorb the movie for the parts that elaborate on the environment, the time, place, and attitudes, surrounding August 2001, not just the story or the dialog or the sometimes lack thereof.
It's a movie that tells the story of two brothers that started a dotcom that survived the tech bubble collapse and its story in reality does the job of representing the not so apparent futures of the people left in the dotcom world after its demise.
What is even more enjoyable about the movie than its overall plot, which, like i said, isn't the real story, is Josh Hartnett's character, who not only represents the image of the dotcom-er CEO circa 1999 but also speaks the truly empty rhetoric of the times that feed and fueled the tech bubble for so long. Just listening to his speech and realizing that he's talking about practically nothing but making it sound like he's preaching the new age gospel, the evangelical oratory of the e-generation, in part, produces the statement the movie is trying to make about the times.
So don't watch this movie for the "story" or to "see what happens." Watch this movie with the understanding that its a movie that tries to capture a period in time: its character's and its subplots"/"devices" being either deeper (representing something/someone more generic), or being empty (just a way to kill time or build a character in a way that is unimportant to the "deeper meaning").
Enjoy the movie. Just be aware of what to look out for.
This is the surprise of the year so far for me.
This excellent little film tells a story of two brothers and their struggling company in a timeline that just precedes 9/11. Several people on IMDb have commented that they don't see why the movie needed to be "cheapened with a 9/11 theme" or some such nonsense. Let's be clear: this movie is not about 9/11 but this was historically a crucial point for the dot-com bubble.
The movie does actually a wonderful job highlighting these events, without spelling them out in some awkward exposition. The story focuses mostly on one of the brothers: The Charismatic Tom (played by Josh Hartnett), who mostly handles the business aspects. Director Austin Chick does a good job immersing us in his life, his lifestyle, his struggles and his ambiguities. His uneasy rapports with his brother Joshua, co-founder of the company "Landshark", who is the quiet "tech guy" behind the operation. With his parents. His former girlfriend. Various other persons in his life and business dealing. It's an absolutely fascinating portrait. What really helps is Hartnett's performance. Now, I'm sorry to say I never was a fan of this fairly popular actor and he had failed to impress me until now... but this has changed. Hartnett is in fact the main strength of this movie, makes the story come alive and shines among a very, very solid cast around him. Tom's role as a confident, brash young guy who must keep appearance and keep his company afloat while he knows it's going down (along with his personal life) required a good acting palette.
It is a strength of the movie that it manages to push both the story of Tom and present an interesting portrait of this time period where economically, things were crashing. What we have here is a movie that could very well have been boring to death due to its topic (finances are a fairly abstract thing, and usually not terribly interesting unless they're your own) but instead becomes fascinating. In many ways, it is reminiscent of Wall Street. Various speeches that Tom delivers and his bout of negotiations lead to several strong moments.
This is a great movie. Where pretty much every scene is worthwhile and supports the overall themes that are pushed. Director Chick seems to have a purpose with every element presented and even the elements not present. Consider: we never get to know what Landshark does. At all. Which might seem weird yet is terribly fitting since along with other shooting star companies of the time, it was all a smoke screen anyway.
Great movie, probably a must buy for those who have an interest in the dot-com bubble.
I like this film, takes the viewer into a strange world that had really
existed Perhaps I'm too much of an insider to judge this film from a
purely objective orientation, but as a quasi refugee of sorts from the
dot com frenzy days, "August" does connect on multiple levels.
Sadly, I've met more than my share of "Tom" characters in real life, and for the most part, that entire world has faded away into obscurity. It was a strange time, when the real world seemed evermore like an episode of the Twilight Zone.
Though there might have been some minor glitches in the film, I think overall it captured the essence of that period and its odd collection of characters surprisingly well.
If there is any one film that is a portal into that culture and time, and does so in an entertaining but reasonably accurate way, this would be that film. It certainly deserves notice and the time it takes to watch, which is a lot more than can be said for some other attempts at this genre'.
In "August," Josh Hartnett plays a cocky, twenty-something entrepreneur
named Tom Sterling who, for the past several years (the movie is set in
the early 2000s), has been riding the dot.com wave to easy fame and
fortune - though he isn't quite prepared, either financially or
emotionally, for the crash that is to come. Landshark, the company he
founded with his brother, Joshua (Adam Scott) and of which he is
currently CEO, has a couple hundred employees on its payroll, but
pretty much everyone who works there is at a loss to explain just what
it is the firm does or produces. Even worse, the company that was once
valued at well over three-and-a-half million dollars is now worth just
a paltry fraction of that amount, the "business model" having
apparently failed to pan out as expected.
As written by Howard A. Rodman and directed by Austin Chick, "August" is essentially a cautionary tale set against the get-rich-quick hysteria that came to dominate in the early days of the internet, when virtually anybody with a half-baked idea and a smidgen of techno-savviness could become a high-stakes player on Wall Street. That many of these people were making their fortunes out of little more than the cyber equivalent of chewing gum and bailing wire while producing nothing of any real substance or value in the long run is what eventually led to disaster for so many of them and for the economy as a whole.
"August" does a reasonably effective job capturing the moral emptiness and emotional shallowness of the characters and the world they inhabit, but, when all is said and done, the movie lacks the dramatic heft and focus needed to turn it into a profound and major work. The minor characters are bland and insufficiently developed, and even Tom is deficient in the kind of depth and shading he would need to make him a representative "tragic hero" for our time. That being said, the movie does offer some intriguing insights into the way the business world works these days and into which type of individual typically succeeds in the new arena. And which type fails.
Maybe because I was 14 in August of 2001 is the reason I have no clue what this movie is about. I have no clue what their company is or does. I'm not very familiar with stock market either, but I do know enough to get the basics but I was still lost. The acting was okay but I just don't think it's a plot that will reach many people. Then again it's an Indie film and not meant to be a blockbuster. I have watched other movies based on stocks or finance and understood them perfectly so maybe it's really a time period movie. This movie will probably resonate better with people who were aware of the dot com explosion and then downfall.
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