In this modern epic, Kim Nguyen exposes the ruthless edge of our increasingly digital world. Cousins from New York, Vincent (Eisenberg) and Anton (Skarsgård) are players in the high-stakes game of High Frequency Trading, where winning is measured in milliseconds. Their dream? To build a fiber-optic cable straight between Kansas and New Jersey, making them millions. But nothing is straightforward for this flawed pair. Anton is the brains, Vincent is the hustler, and together they push each other and everyone around them to breaking point on their quixotic adventure. Constantly breathing down their necks is their old boss Eva Torres (Hayek) a powerful, intoxicating and manipulative trader who will stop at nothing to come between them and beat them at their own game. No matter what the cost, Vincent and Anton are determined to cut through America, only to find redemption at the end of their line, not through money, but through family and reconnecting to the land.
Not all fiction, pretty much based on Michael Lewis' Flash boys novel based on high frequency trading (HFT) and a real line built for the exact purpose portrayed in the movie. Probably added parts for dramatic quality and to move the story along. Michael Lewis is also responsible for The Big Short, Moneyball and The Blindside P See more »
Several times characters say cell tower, when actually referring to microwave towers. Cell towers provide last-hop connectivity to cellular devices, mostly phones. Whereas microwave towers relay signals over long distances. See more »
Wants to be like "The Big Short" but falls... short
"The Hummingbird Project" (2018 release from Canada); brings the story of cousins Vinnie and Anton. As the movie opens, we are at the offices of "Torres & Thathcher, New York, October, 2011", where Vinnie and Anton both work as data analysts. Unbeknownst to their boss Eva Torres, Vinnie and Anton are planning to leave and branch out on their own, as they have found a way (or so they think) to get data from the Kansas Electronics Exchange a millisecond faster than everyone else by building a 4 inch fiber tunnel in a straight line from Kansas to New York. Of course, this involves many legal and practical challenges. Off they go... At this point we are 10 min into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is written and directed by little known (on the US side anyway) Canadian Kim Nguyen. Here he brings a story that could have a major impact on how stocks are traded on Wall Street. Within minutes, it is clear that the vibe Nguyen is going for is Adam McKay's "The Big Short". In and of itself there is nothing wrong with that. Except that here, it simply doesn't work all that well. First of all, we need to make a leap of faith that stick traders getting data in 16 milliseconds rather than 17 milliseconds (think about that) will cause a tornado in the stock markets. Second, the movie makes a number of side bars that divert from the major story line (sorry, I don't want to divulge more than that). On the plus side, the movie is helped enormously by the lead performances. Jesse Eisenberg (as Vinnie) and, even better, an almost unrecognizable Alexander Skarsgård (as Anton) truly carry the film on their shoulders. Salma Hayek's screen time (as Eva Torres) is all too brief, unfortunately. Bottom line: the movie is not bad per se, but neither is is compelling. It all feels like a lost opportunity.
"The Hummingbird Project" premiered at last Fall's Toronto International Film Festival to so-so acclaim, and the movie now is getting a limited theater release. It opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and the Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended poorly (8 people, including myself). I can't see this playing in the theater for more than just a few weeks. If you are interested in a "Big Short"-wanna-be that falls, well, a bit short but that has its moments, I encourage you to check it out, be it in the theater (if you can), or VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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