Film review: The Hummingbird Project

This indie film deserves to be a hit


In Canadian director Kim Nguyen’s new indie drama Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Zombieland, Night Moves) stars as a high-frequency trader who decides to go head to head against his manipulative old boss (Salma Hayek) with the help of his brainiac cousin (Alexander Skarsgård). Exposing the ruthless dealings of an increasingly competitive digital world, the film offers a beautifully understated, if slightly flawed, semi-comedic narrative which once again manages to showcase Eisenberg’s unequalled flare for both drama and comedy.

Having worked for one of the most competitive companies dealing in the high-speed trading of stocks and commodities, Vincent Zaleski (Eisenberg) and his cousin Anton (Skarsgård) refuse to let their boss Eva Torres (Hayek) get her hands on Anton’s latest genius idea

. Instead, Vincent has hatched his own plan to run a fibre-optic cable from Kansas to a Wall Street databank in New Jersey to gain a millisecond of advantage on his competitors.

Armed with millions of dollars from a venture capitalist backer (Frank Schorpion) and with the help of amiable drilling expert Mark (an impressive Michael Mando), Vincent will have to sweet-talk hundreds of small landowners into letting him run the cable under their properties.

Disaster strikes when a series of setbacks and unforeseen personal circumstances force him to face the possibility of failure.

Nguyen ‘s film has ambitions beyond its humble indie credentials. Presenting a story which is first and foremost rooted in the desire to expose greed, the film offers an unabashedly moralising tale about the dangers of modern business and its unscrupulous players.

And while the intricacies of the technical jargon can sometimes feel a little overdone, there are still some moments of utter genius thanks to both Nguyen’s excellent writing and Eisenberg’s fantastic delivery.

Eisenberg is truly magnificent as a man who appears to be completely in control one minute and way-in-over-his-head the next.

Showing both huge conviction and irresistible vulnerability, the actor delivers each line as if his life depended on it.

Elsewhere, a bald-headed and barely recognisable Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood, Melancholia, Big Little Lies), puts in a solid performance as Anton, an obsessive and nervy savant who will do anything to keep his cousin happy.

Overall, The Hummingbird Project delivers on its promise of intrigue and pure unbridled enthusiasm for a subject many would have, understandably, shied away from broaching due its abstract nature.

It may be a modest indie film, but it deserves a broad audience. Highly recommended.

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