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Startup.com
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Startup.com order
Director:
Chris Hegedus & Jehane Noujaim

Actors:
Tom Herman
Kaleil Isaza Tuzman

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Documentary film about two childhood friends who ride the tidal wave of the Internet boom all the way to disaster. From its infancy to its sad demise, the viewer is treated to an insider view of GovWorks.com, a site dedicated to facilitating government payments for everyday users. A great idea whose time unfortunately had not yet come…
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This is definitely a must-see for anyone who’s wondered over the past year “what the hell ever happened to the internet?” Originally intended to document the rise of a great new economic powerhouse, this film instead chronicles the rise and fall of an idea that looked great on paper but that fell short in the long run. Extremely well made and entirely engrossing, the two friends in question, Tom and Kaleil, struggle not only with the search for riches but also with themselves and with each other. If ever there was testimony to the saying “don’t mix money and friends”, this was it.

It’s an extremely well made and intelligent film that proves at the same time very informative while remaining entertaining. You can’t help but be interested in the two main players who both have their charms and their faults. Tom is the nice affable guy who you want to root for but who you also want to shake up make realize that millions are at stake. Kaleil on the other hand, realizes all too well that money is the driving force and sometimes comes off as greedy and arrogant, but you can’t help but admire his drive and tenaciousness. Nobody can accuse this guy of going after what he wants…

The greatest accomplishment of this film is to really manage to give you a sense of how fast all this happens and of how quickly the company goes from rags to riches, and of how quickly the riches go away. Required reading for anyone whose thinking of opening their own business, regardless of the industry.
THE EXTRAS
You’ll the standards of any DVD on this one: scene access, trailer, teaser, cast & crew info as well as some production notes. They’re all fairly tame but very respectable considering the budgets available for documentary films. As a fan of documentaries and “educational” programming, I think it they make a great job of dealing with limited resources.

A 10-minute documentary interview with filmmakers Hegedus and Noujaim entitled “Doc on Docs” explains the process of shooting a documentary. The most interesting according to me is that the film being unscripted, all the editing and technical work is done on the fly and sometimes has to be done and re-done several times. Things change pretty quickly…

A commentary track is also available from Hegedus and Noujaime. Full of information about what happened on a particular day or how they got a particular shot, it’s fascinating because it adds so much more info that just the film. If you watch the film, you’ll definitely be interested in the commentary. I wish mainstream filmmakers were half as intelligent as the two women who did this film. We wouldn’t have to sit through as much drivel as we do. The commentary track was worth every minute.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Great little documentary that you can watch over and over. With its intensity and true sense of reality, you can develop a relationship with the players and really root for them and feel bad when dust gets bitten. I definitely recommend buying this if you’re even slightly interested in the Internet but even if you’ve always wanted to one day leave it all and be your own boss. Sometimes, things can get pretty hairy…
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