"A strong documentary about the rise and fall of E-business."
"Startup.com" starts out slow, and we're not sure if this will be just a documentary about Dot-Com dreamers who make it big. But then things begin to happen between the two leads, and the film becomes deeper, more resounding and powerful than ever expected. It's an amazingly touching journey of two people who thought they had all the wealth but just got too in over their heads.I loved "Startup.com," even though I had real problems with the photography. Bring an airsick bag, as this film is shot so loosely with mini-DV cameras that it makes Lars Von Trier's "Dancer In The Dark" look as stedicam as a Stanley Kubrick film. Throughout, the camera wings around, literally right next to or in front of the characters, at such a feverish pace that it really can be disorienting at times.
However, this is a minor flaw. There's so much to learn from Tom and Kaliel, two business graduates who start up GovWorks.com, a site where people can pay anything relating to the government, from parking tickets to bills, through their website. Just provide your credit card info and everything is taken care of. The site is an instant success, bringing in major investors, up to $60 million in revenues for Tom and Kaliel. But competitors start lining up, Tom and Kaliel can't figure out how to win all the customers to their website, and things eventually start going downhill.
It's astonishing the characteristics between Tom and Kaliel, the best of friends who started this company, but appear to have very different outlooks as to how to succeed. Directeors Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim follow both characters around for a long time, poking their cameras into board meetings, arguments, and both of their families' lives.It may sound strange, but I love watching people suffer on screen. Characters with strong problems are always the most fascinating to watch on film, and even moreso in "Startup.com," where all of the humans here are real and all of the tragedy really occured. Watching it on film in a theater, it makes for an incredibly compelling drama, and one that a few writers in Hollywood should look at a little closely to see how the human condition really operates.