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Directors Chris Hegedus (The War Room) and Jehane Noujaim couldn't have imagined the drama that awaited when they began documenting the creation of the pioneering e-commerce site govWorks.com. For over a year they followed the company, the brainchild of childhood-friends-turned-business-partners software geek and doting single dad Tom Herman, and ambitious young business-school-grad-turned-company-CEO Kaleil Isaza Tuzman. During the rise of the Internet investment frenzy and the subsequent crash of the dot-economy, the cameras remain keyed into the human dynamic: the lifestyle compromises, the personal sacrifices, and the clash of philosophies and personalities that ultimately tear boyhood buddies Tom and Kaleil apart...almost. Startup.com's portrait of the cutthroat nature of American business culture and the choices one makes (or doesn't) to succeed poses the one question most documentaries ignore: Is it worth it? --Sean Axmaker
- Commentary by the directors
- Featurette: "Documentarians on Documentary"
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The opening 3/4 is fine, but it is the last 15 minutes that so disappoints. As the dotcom boom turns to bomb there is virtually no coverage of the monumental NASDAQ collapse and the financial hole that the likes of boo.com, epets, yahoo, aol etc fell/have fallen into. I appreciate that the doco is more about the relationship between Tom and Kaleil, but seeing more information about the actual govworks product, who was using it, why it failed, and how so many others failed, would have added so much to the story. As it is you get the feeling that govworks was alone in its failure. There is little of the additional background story which would have fleshed out the govworks story immeasurably.
This failure to place govworks in the 2000 dotcom crash perspective saves this story from being excellent.
Technically some of the focusing and framing is poor, as you'd expect. Worse tho is the terrible lip-sync which is sometimes wildly out of kilter which adversely affects ones ability to follow the story. A subtitle track would also have helped to follow some of the muffled telephone calls.
Overall tho, a very good slice of life at the turn of the century.
Twenty years from now, when people look back on the "dot com bubble", and when those who weren't there can't fathom the hundreds of overnight paper millionaires, the irrational stock valuations, the revolutionary nature of what was happening, and of course the impending crash - this film will surely stand as an indispensable documentary of the time, capturing the excitement and the madness of the incredible Internet commercial phenomenon.
Hats off to the film makers - this is a truly remarkable time capsule that, compelling as it is today, will only become increasingly important as our collective memories of that time, fade.
So here I am - a regular person, with a regular job - self-indulgently broadcasting my simple thoughts to anyone, anywhere in the world who will listen, courtesy of the global communication network that made it all possible.
This is it. This is how it was.
The every day running the relationships between them the strugle to survive and make people and investors to believe in them are given with a plain and simple way which on the other hand makes the film fascinating.It could be more specific about the industry and how it really works instead of passing fast this stage and this is a missing point but the whole movie is fast just like the success and the failure in todays world.
I really did have good time watching this movie.
No doubt it leaves you wondering if having just good friends-partners and bright ideas this is enough to survive in the modern bussines world or because of the globalization the good days are gone forever.
See it it is worthy
In retrospect, it seems clear the govWorks was going to fail. Put simply, they underperformed compared to their competitors and got a huge amount of investment with hype and not much performance.
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