On the threshold of the Digital Age, visionary geniuses Bill Gates and Steve Jobs launch the revolutionary race between rivals Microsoft and Apple Computers. Pirates of Silicon Valley is an original 1999 American made for television biographical drama film, directed by Martyn Burke and starring Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs and Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates.
Martyn Burke, who wrote the screenplay for Pirates of Silicon Valley (Sunday, June 20; 8 to 10 p.m.; TNT), claims two sources for every incident we see on the screen. So one supposes this includes the scene of a young Bill Gates on a wild-oats midnight Nibelungen ride on a very yellow bulldozer. That the founder of Microsoft, before he grew up to be the richest man in the known universe by crushing competition wherever he happened to see it, should have hot-rodded in his geeky youth on a bulldozer is just too perfectly emblematic to believe for a second.
On the other hand, as played so anal-retentively by Anthony Michael Hall in this snarky send-up of the digitheads, Gates is very romantic about the woman he will marry -- whereas, as played so manic-depressively by Noah Wyle, Apple's Steve Jobs won't even acknowledge that the baby born to Arlene (Gema Zamprogna) is his, much less pay her a measly $20,000. And Jobs, of course, is the lordly charismatic nerd, peering into the circuitry in his garage and seeing 'a completely new consciousness,' babbling in leftover sixties guruspeak about 'overthrowing the dead culture.' Whereas Gates was always in it for the money; that's the way he scored. If Bill plays poker, Steve drops acid. Neither of them -- before Jobs stole the mouse and the menu from Xerox and Gates stole the whole idea of Windows from overtrusting Mac; before they became imperial, with Jobs behaving like Caligula and Gates actually becoming Augustus -- bargained on becoming as famous as rock stars. You will find yourself identifying with Joey Slotnick as the other Steve, Wozniak, who abandoned Jobs and the programmed madness to teach schoolchildren. You will probably conclude that Microsoft is what revenge looks like to the kid who was never cool enough.
You may wonder how such elegant machines ever emerged from such a wormy Apple. You may even want to swear off Websites and cyberspace altogether, now that Microsoft has itself invested more than $100 million in Apple and Jobs is back in charge, returned from the wilderness of NeXT as blue in the face as an IMAX, and the entire online, downlinked, jacked-off world looks to be wearing lawyers and beanies like the Big Brothers at IBM. But Pirates is a hoot.
In countless hours of effort, imagining and intrigue. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates were changing the way the world works, lives and communicates. The event-packed saga of the quirky visionaries who jump-started the future unfolds with exhilarating, cutting-edge style in Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Noah Wyle (ER) portrays Jobs and Anthony Michael Hall (The Dead Zone) portrays Gates in this chronicle of the fierce and often humorous battle to rule the fledgling personal computer empire. 'The story is almost Shakespearean.
It's a tale of lust, greed, ambition, love and hate,' writer/director Martyn Burke reflects. And it's a success story unlike any other.
MPAA Rating: NOTRATED Pirates of Silicon Valley (c) 1999 TNT Originals, Inc.