Release Date:July 11,2008
AUGUST is the story of two brothers, Tom and Joshua Sterling (Josh Hartnett and Adam Scott) whose Internet start-up, Landshark, is as hot as a New York City summer ? only this is the summer of 2001, their company is in lock up, its stock price is plunging and, in a few weeks, the world will change forever.But right now Tom is living the hedonistic life of an Internet star, the kind we of guy we might have seen profiled on 60 Minutes II: he dates multiple women, drives a bitchin' '69 Camaro convertible and hangs out at a new club called Bungalow 8. But, like an emo version of Patrick Bateman, it somehow never seems to matter that Tom is not quite able to explain what his company actually does. We learn this from an early scene in AUGUST. It's a business meeting to which Tom shows up late ? his brother Joshua has had to explain that Tom's not really into mornings ? but nonetheless mesmerizes the potential clients with the idea that what they want is "E. Pure E. Not 'e-commerce.' Not 'e-business.' Not 'click-and-mortar,' dear God, please not that...You want 'E.' Pure 'E.' Not old, not tired, not stepped on. Not a gram of 'E' and ten grams of baby laxative. 'E.'"Tom Sterling is a true showman, a demigod in a cult ? and culture ? of personality.Back at the office Tom is confronted by his COO Melanie Hanson (Robin Tunney) with the news that without some fast cash, Landshark will soon be underwater. The scene has Melanie sitting at Tom's desk ? she is the grown-up in this situation, after all ? yet it concludes with a sexual flourish that brings their relationship back down into the dot.com sandbox. Regardless of Melanie's warning, at dinner later that night Tom asks Dylan, his CFO, to look into his acquisition of a Gulf Stream jet, convinced that Landshark can't afford to risk appearing like they can't afford it ("Bezos has one. F***ing Bezos!" Tom says.) At the same restaurant Tom runs into Sarrah (Naomie Harris), a beautiful, no-nonsense woman with whom he clearly has a past.The next day Melanie informs Tom that their main client is about to file for bankruptcy and that Landshark stock is in the toilet. She starts to suggest cutbacks and layoffs "but then there's the whole perception thing," she admits. She also mentions that there is interest in Landshark from a corporate raider named Barton Ogilvie (David Bowie), but the catch is that Tom will have to give up about fifty percent of the company. This is unacceptable to Tom and he throws everyone out of his office.Tom finds his brother Joshua at the Pussycat club, a strip joint with an old-school pinball machine at which they play while Tom asks Joshua to put his personal money back into the company. The brothers step outside to argue, Tom reminding Joshua that Tom has always been good with money, while Joshua, without saying yes or no, tells Tom "Just because I'm smart doesn't mean I'm stupid" as he concludes the discussion by descending into the subway.That night Tom stops by his parents' Brooklyn brownstone for dinner. He brings an expensive bottle of wine that fails to impress his father, David (Rip Torn), but be becomes truly infuriated when his dad presses him on what Landshark really does. In a speech that may sum up for many the business-culture ethos of the pre-9/11 era (and remind others of a similar movie speech about "plastics"), Torn?s character rips into the employees he observed on a visit to Landshark who sit at their Ikea desks, play solitaire on their computers and eat Oreos all day."Now it's been a long day," Tom's father David says, "I'll give you that. Ten in the morning 'till ten at night, seven days a week. But I'm sorry ? why would anyone give you a million dollars, just to watch you sit around and eat Oreos?""Dad, add some zeroes, OK? Add two of them. That's what we're talking about here," Tom shoots back, demonstrating at once the depth of his denial and the degree to which he has totally missed his father's point.Tom repairs to a Manhattan lounge where Sarrah is working as a bartender. Tom waits for Sarrah to finish work, shares a late supper with her and walks her home, but she gently rejects his advances. Tom ends at another bar where he picks a fight with a dot.com drone who ends up kicking Tom's ass. The next morning Tom shows up to the office, bearing his battle scars, while Melanie figures out quickly that he not only hasn't prepared to give an important speech that day at e-Symposium, but that he has also forgotten about the engagement entirely. At the symposium Tom's scruffy, unwashed appearance only enhances his reputation as the enfant terrible of the Internet. As Melanie and Joshua watch from the Green Room, Tom's magnetic performance ? all style and philosophy and no practical content ? mesmerizes the crowd by comparing Landshark's impact to the slicing-of-the-eyeball scene that opens CHIEN ANDALOU followed by a litany of all that is over.Later, Tom has successfully manipulated Sarrah back into his life with an invitation to his loft for dinner. When she arrives, we learn that Sarrah, a student of architecture, had designed the interior of the loft, which means that Tom has been living surrounded by a constant reminder of this smart and beautiful woman: no wonder he desperately wants her back. They eat dinner and talk about a flattering Wired magazine cover story on Tom that Sarrah read while she was away in Europe. Tom thinks to ask Sarrah what she is doing, and promises to attend an exhibition of her architectural work the following day. They sleep together.The next morning Tom, Melanie and Dylan meet with a lawyer for Barton Ogilvie, who makes it clear that Ogilvie is interested in acquiring a significant stake in Landshark, otherwise why waste each other's time. Pouting like a child, Tom rubs his finger over a blemish on the conference table as Melanie assures the lawyer they will be at the meeting at 9:00am sharp the next day. Later, Tom drives his convertible to the gallery showing Sarrah's work. He is on time, but he doesn't go in: he sits in his car, either stewing in his own professional humiliation or paralyzed by the idea of actually growing closer to Sarrah. In any case, when he walks in five minutes before the end of the show Sarrah doesn't hide her disappointment, and she dismisses him from her life.Tom, Melanie and Dylan are on time and dressed for their audience with Barton Ogilvie, whose Saville Row morning suit and cane make Tom's outfit look like it came from the boy's department at Sak's. Tom begins the meeting talking about mutual happiness, but Ogilvie cuts to the chase: he knows he can destroy Landshark with a whisper, and he isn't interested in the company unless he gains a controlling stake and Tom agrees to step down. In a rare display of loyalty, Tom agrees, insisting that his brother, Melanie and Dylan remain and well-compensated. Ogilvie agrees. Back at the Pussycat Lounge and over a game of old-school pinball, AUGUST ends where it begins ? with two brothers talking about starting a company together.