*/**** Image A+ Sound B+ Extras D
starring Ryan Phillipe, Rachael Leigh Cook, Claire Forlani, Tim Robbins
screenplay by Howard Franklin
directed by Peter Howitt
by Walter Chaw A fitfully entertaining throwback to the Pakula paranoia thrillers of the Seventies, Peter Howitt's Antitrust is a cross between the techno-geekery of Wargames, the 'gifted youngster getting a crash course in Machiavellian corruption' of The Firm, the steal-the-air adolescent angst anthem of Pump Up the Volume, and the 'rebel teen-geniuses unite' malarkey of the simply-abominable Hackers. The great shame and irony of Antitrust is that after all the high concept--the creative use of sesame seeds, the Citizen Kane-esque skewering of a media tycoon, the constant reiterations of the hero's intelligence--the film remains a conventional addition to the thriller genre that is slightly better than it should be because of its audacious goofiness, but far worse than it could have been because of its failure to be goofier. Antitrust, in other words, suffers from what I call the Wizard of Oz malady: no heart, no brain, no courage.