Startup.com review by The Grim Ringler

Startup.com

Wow. The moral to the story is dont get into business with your friends. At least, thats what I took from the movie.

An ambitious documentary, Startup.com follows two friends (there are three but the third is killed off by bandits and samurai in quick fashion, ok, hes just bought out but man, wouldnt it be cool if my way happened?) that decide they want to start an internet company and get in on the vast fortunes being made online at the time (which would be the height of the internet boom, right before everything went belly-up). The film begins with the friends Tom and Kaleil, gathering up their team and venturing out to get the funding. Its not stated but is soon pretty obvious that Kaleil is the business man of the operation and this is shown in too many scenes where Tom, decent guy though he seems, talks either out of turn or about things that are not for him to say, thus starting the company out on the wrong foot. The guys get the backing though and in no time it looks like govWORKS.com will be setting the world on fire as the one-stop shop to pay parking tickets and deal with other annoying problems people have with their local governments. The first sign that things arent going so well comes in fact when the guys have to buy out their third partner, someone we are never find out what his contribution was (my own and my friends suspicion was that he perhaps created the program that the site was to hinge on, but then again, we saw the video and not the DVD so I am not too sure). The ugly side of business begins to show its head in these scenes, as we see a friendship end and a business partner bought, and its an unfortunate glimpse of what is to come. GovWORKS.com is a hit though and in no time Kaleil is on television and in print pushing the site, and now that they have the backing, they are beginning to get the people to support the site and that want to use its services. The next hurdle though arises when the govWORKS offices are broken into and many of their secure files are stolen, something that doesnt seem to harm the business but that begins to show all involved the seriousness of what they are involved in. Everything seems to be going great though and they are all getting ready to start counting their millions when it quickly becomes apparent that their internet site is flawed and they cannot release the site on time, and suddenly the board members (which are never seen and seem like a sort of Jedi Counsel, or maybe I am just a movie nerd) are getting anxious for some revenue to start flowing in. When the site is finally released though all seems right with the world, the site is up, it works, and it seems like they might have done it, after a year and many long, long hours, they have finally done it. Things are not that easy though as the govWORKS competition seems to be doing far better at the same services GW wants to provide, and the tensions begin to mount until finally it becomes apparent that Tom is no longer part of the GW plan and its left to Kaleil, Toms life-long friend, to fire him or get caught up in another buy out situation. But even with Tom, who for all is seeming decency, just was not cut out for the high pressure world of .coms, the business is still floundering, and as the film ends the rats are finally abandoning ship and what had started out as this wonderful idea between friends is finally consumed by big business and swallowed whole.

The film has a weird, rough style, and frankly has too much MTV-style editing to keep you focused on the story, so thats a drag. The other major problem being that a LOT is left unsaid that should not be, such as the fact that, having done some detective work, there were FOUR people that began govWORKS, and only three are mentioned, and even then the third is barely even mentioned. I realize they want you to focus on the heart of the film the business, but why include that other information if you were not going to utilize it? It is a tremendous film though, and one that has such impact by chance of when they made it as much as anything else. This film is a wonderful document of what the .com madness was all about during the late nineties and if nothing else should be seen for that reason alone. But it is a strong film. Once you can get past the wobbly camera-work there is a wonderful story being told and its absolutely gripping. PS You can find out what happened to Tom and Kaleil with a quick google.com search of govWORKS, its pretty interesting. Great movie.

c


8 out of 10 Jackasses

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