There’s something compelling about watching characters in a movie race to put a plan together. No matter what the plan being depicted is, whether they’re heroes or villains (or somewhere in between), the David vs. Goliath aspect has fueled cinema for much of its existence. You always want to see the little guy come out on top. We have another strong effort of that ilk hitting theaters this week in The Hummingbird Project. Featuring a pair of really good performances at its forefront, the film utilizes snappy dialogue and complex protagonists to power its engine. This is solid stuff, worthy of your time and money.
The film is a drama taking place in the world of High Frequency Trading, where milliseconds literally are all that matters. Vincent (Jesse Eisenberg) and Anton (Alexander Skarsgård) are cousins players in the field. They work together for Eva Torres (Salma Hayek) but harbor a secret dream. That dream? Fueled mainly by Vincent, they aim to build a valuable straight fiber-optic cable between Kansas and New Jersey. Doing so would make them millions. Of course, it’s not going to be easy, even while Anton displays some brilliant ideas and Vincent hustles everyone to move their plan forward. As they get closer and closer to success, Eva begins to attempt to sabotage them. She’ll stop at nothing to beat them at their own game. Everyone has a reason to want to win here, something the film teases out over the course of its running time. Kim Nguyen writes and directs, while Yves Gourmeur composed the score and Nicolas Bolduc handled the cinematography. Supporting players here include Sarah Goldberg, Johan Heldenbergh, Ayisha Issa, Michael Mando, Frank Schorpion, and more.
Jesse Eisenberg And Alexander Skarsgård put the movie on their backs and help make it as good as it ultimately is. They handle the rapid fire dialogue and really make it sing. Eisenberg has done work like this before, to be sure, so it’s nice to just watch him wear the part like a comfortable pair of jeans. Skarsgård, on the other hand, undergoes quite the transformation. He looks nothing like he normally does and really disappears within himself. They are game for everything that Nguyen throws out them, and that’s important, as sometimes the story loses its momentum. When that happens, we lean on Eisenberg and Skarsgård to light the path forward.
There’s an extra pleasure in seeing Eisenberg fire off dialogue like this again. In some ways, it is reminiscent of his turn in The Social Network. Here in The Hummingbird Project, Vincent Zaleski likely fancies himself a smoother version of Mark Zuckerberg. Truthfully, he’s at best a low class version of him. Still, he has this single minded determination to succeed that Eisenberg plays so well. There’s an emotional resonance to his quest that is introduced about midway through, which gives Eisenberg a new angle to explore. The Social Network remains his best performance to date, but this is another strong example of his talents.
This weekend, fans of Eisenberg and/or Skarsgård are in for a treat if they give a look at The Hummingbird Project. The movie showcases them both in terrific ways. The former is in his comfort zone, yet putting a slightly new spin on it. As for the latter, he’s turning in work that you’ve never seen from him before. The way it finds a surprisingly touching way to wrap up the story also helps put it over the top. This is a film well worth looking out for. Give it a shot and see what you think. I suspect you’ll find plenty to like here…
Be sure to check out The Hummingbird Project, in theaters starting on Friday!