Ivory Tower

Ivory Tower (1998)
Vanguard Films
Cast: Michael Ironside, Kari Wuhrer

At times, it seems that everyone in the world hates Microsoft. There was the recent box-office dud ’AntiTrust’, which took veiled potshots at the software giant and it’s founder Bill Gates. And now, we have an earlier film, 1998’s ’Ivory Tower’ which mines similar territory. ’Ivory Tower’ stars Patrick Van Horn as Anthony Datona. Anthony is a young go-getter at a computer company called Felice (I kept saying ’navidad’ to myself everytime they showed the ’Felice’ logo.) Felice has been working on a new micro-processor called ’Horizon’, and Anthony has been overseeing the project. As the film opens, Anthony learns that his old V.P. has been let go, and he must meet with Andy Pallack (Ian Buchanan), the CEO of MicroTronics, the industry leader in new computer technology. (MicroTronics, huh? Interesting.) MicroTronics is infamous for buying up smaller companies, but Anthony turns down their $10 million offer and decides to forge ahead with the ’Horizon’ project. All is well until a new V.P. Marshall Wallace (Michael Ironside, who would’ve had been better in this role if he’d had a metal hand). Wallace is a hardcase who goes against everything that Anthony does or suggests. To make matters worse, Wallace begins to block Anthony’s access to important information. Just when things seem their bleakest, MicroTronics comes calling again. Not with an offer to buy ’Horizon’, but with an offer to buy Anthony. Will Anthony stay loyal to Felice, or flee to the enemy?

’Ivory Tower’ is an inoffensive little movie that tells an interesting, if not familiar story. This tale could’ve taken place in any industry, but placing the film in the Silicon Valley does give it a more modern feel. The plot is pretty predictable, but there is a surprising twist at the ending (which actually wraps things up too nicely, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt). The film is full of familiar faces, such as Keith Coogan (’Toy Soldiers’), Kari Wuhrer, and Donna Pescow, who gives a tour-de-force performances as the sales manager who constantly mangles the English language. The best scenes belong to office wild-man Jarvis (James Wilder), who’s antics would’ve easily earned this film an R-rating. ’Ivory Tower’ is competently paced, and if you’re looking for a film that will remind you of how stress-free your job is, this may be the one.

’Ivory Tower’ comes to DVD by way of Vanguard Films Home Video. The movie is presented full-frame. The image is sharp, but a bit blurry and soft at times. The colors appear true for the most part, although there are some scenes which have a slightly washed-out look to them. The film’s original aspect ratio is unknown, but some scenes do appear to be somewhat ’squeezed’. The audio on the DVD is a 2-channel surround mix. This offers clear and audible dialogue, along with some musical cues and ambient sound from the rear speakers. The surround sound is used sparingly, and the soundfield is quite limited. There are no extras on the DVD.