Barbarians At The Gates (1993) *** 1/2
11.09, 2007 Author: MMMDirector: Glenn Jordan
Starring: James Garner, Jonathan Pryce, Peter Riegert, Joanna Cassidy, Fred Dalton Thompson, Leilani Sarelle, Matt Clark
This Emmy-winning made-for-TV movie takes a humorous look at actual events in a big 1980s takeover war. It falls somewhere between a light drama and a comedy, but the seasoned professional acting (particularly lead James Garner) and experienced direction is far above usual TV standards. There is a pretty good story about excess and the battle for big bucks.
James Garner is F. Ross Johnson, who has gone from being a hardworking paperboy in Winnipeg, Canada to a jet setting, big spending CEO in NYC. When Johnson is faced with an expensive project that seems headed for failure, he chooses to deflect shareholder backlash by trying to raise the money to buy the company himself. It might have worked, but when a couple other green sharks get the whiff of possible profit, the bidding war is on. What follows is corporate juggling, scrambling, and general skulduggery in a world where all the numbers have nine zeroes.
Imagine a Wall Street where Gordon Gekko is a charming, nice guy (but greed is still good) and with a comedy slant, and you will have some idea of what to expect here. All in all, this is a pretty fun way to learn the difference between a corporate takeover and a hostile takeover. Admit it. You have always wanted to know.