Stars: Anthony Michael Hall, Noah Wyle, Joey Slotnick
Genre: Biography, Drama
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 97 minutes
This dramatization of the tangled history of Apple Computer and Microsoft, based on a book by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine, hits enough of the right notes to make its failures all the more frustrating. The script follows the entwined paths of Apple's Steve Jobs and Microsoft's Bill Gates with a pointed sense of the cultural divide between the hip, self-absorbed Apple cofounder and the brilliant alpha geek behind Microsoft's eventual software empire, contrasting the Mac's countercultural underpinnings with the PC's more strait-laced origins. But Pirates of Silicon Valley seemingly can't decide whether it wants to be a serious-minded history of these key figures in the personal computer revolution or a trashy wallow in the more ignoble foibles of its principals. As a result, it falls short of exacting history while never achieving the guilty pleasure it might have. If Gates has become synonymous with corporate conquest at its most striking, Pirates' interest lies more with Jobs, given a nervous energy and flashes of adolescent selfishness by Noah Wyle, who benefits from a reasonable physical resemblance to the Apple chief. Eyewear and a comb-over do nearly as well for Anthony Michael Hall, who also grafts some of Bill Gates's better-known mannerisms onto his performance and renders Gates as a smart if socially maladroit entrepreneur who, like Jobs, provides the ambition and business savvy to exploit his partner's computing talents. There are a few fanciful touches (Ballmer and Wozniak become Greek choruses, addressing the viewer as they comment on the principals), but the story plays out in straightforward fashion. It's tantalizing to consider how the Apple/PC melodrama might have fared with an edgier, more openly satirical script. --Sam Sutherland
What is this? This is like doing business with a praying mantis. You get seduced, and then eaten alive afterwards?
Get real, would ya? You and I are both like guys who had this rich neighbor - Xerox - who left the door open all the time. And you go sneakin' in to steal a TV set. Only when you get there, you realize that I got there first. I got the loot, Steve! And you're yellin'? "That's not fair. I wanted to try to steal it first." You're too late.
Honest to God, Ballmer. You have no culture.
Oh yeah, like you go around reading Plato! You're the only guy I know who can make furniture out of Playboys. Look, you got enough to make a chair. You don't have to worry about 'em moving around, 'cause they're all stuck together
. They're all stuck together!
I don't want you to think of this as just a film - some process of converting electrons and magnetic impulses into shapes and figures and sounds - no. Listen to me. We're here to make a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why even be here? We're creating a completely new consciousness, like an artist or a poet. We're rewriting the history of human thought with what we're doing. That's how you have to think of this.
Well, Steven, right now I'm a touch more worried about getting light on the actress, do you know what I mean?
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