The Hummingbird Project

The Hummingbird Project

(2019)

Everything is on the line.

Two traders (Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgård) compete with their old boss (Salma Hayek) to land a massive deal in this drama thriller.... More

"Determined to create a more efficient way of transmitting information between stock exchanges, the cousins [Eisenberg and Skarsgård] scheme to lay fibre-optic cable from Kansas City to New York, gaining them and their clients crucial seconds in order to trounce their competitors. Vincent (Eisenberg) — the force behind the scheme — is a frantic dreamer who pursues his ideas with zealot-like intensity while promising everyone the moon. Anton (Skarsgård) is the brains, a socially awkward data wiz with few friends besides Vincent. Both end up in the crosshairs of their ruthless former employer Eva Torres, a Wall Street lion willing to devour anyone unlucky enough to get in her way. Unfortunately, Anton hasn't entirely figured out how to make the cable connection fast enough to warrant the expense. As time runs out, Vincent's claims of grandeur get progressively wilder." (Toronto International Film Festival)Hide

Flicks Review

The Hummingbird Project has all the makings of a wicked moral thriller. Its probe into sticky ethical quandaries inherent in the unchecked tech-driven colossus that is the modern era is, undoubtedly, sharply topical stuff. But writer/director Kim Nguyen, a competent hand but lacking the superior formalist chops of a David Fincher to elevate and galvanise the material, only gets there in scattered fashion.... More

As such, the film is low-boil Soderbergh-lite, a strange, curious shrug of a movie that nevertheless compensates with decent performances and an uncannily persuasive veneer of verisimilitude. Yes, going into The Hummingbird Project cold, I did wonder whether what I was seeing was actually based on some nutty true story.

The Fincher connection is almost unavoidable, given the presence of Jesse Eisenberg. His turn as Vincent Zaleski, a high-frequency hustler executing a get-rich-quick fibre cabling scheme, has more than a few superficial similarities to his career-defining performance as Mark Zuckerberg in Fincher’s The Social Network. Eisenberg is the perfect actor to force us to keep up with Nguyen’s thick Wall Street-speak, and communicate the thrill of the trade, but his live-wire moxie can only do so much heavy lifting.

Elsewhere, Nguyen doubles down on ticking-clock frissons, oiling the plot with Zaleski’s hulking on-the-Rain Man-spectrum cousin Anton (Alexander Skarsgård) chasing those make-or-break milliseconds of lucrative data delivery. I can enjoy a bald, against-type Skarsgård nerding out as much as the next person, but he’s one of several elements, including a particularly schematic soul-searching development and Salma Hayek’s scene-devouring corporate rival, requiring a more graceful finessing of tone.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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The Press Reviews

  • Though this intriguing genre-hybrid might be just a little too odd for more mainstream success, this is a promising step in the right direction for Nguyen. Full Review

  • An entertaining vehicle for vivid performances by both actors. Full Review

  • There's a good reason why no one's ever made a movie about this before - in fact, there are probably a few. Full Review

  • A defiantly odd thriller involving esoteric subject matter, The Hummingbird Project tells a familiar story of ambition and greed with enough eccentricity that the movie's strangeness becomes one of its chief attributes. Full Review

  • A smartly entertaining and unexpectedly human film... Full Review

  • Whatever it takes to keep a techno hellraiser on its feet, this humdrum Hummingbird doesn't have it, despite the efforts of Eisenberg and Skarsgård to breathe some life into it. Full Review