the hummingbird project
DIRECTOR: Kim Nguyen (war witch, eye on juliet)
starring: jesse eisenberg, alexander skarsgard, michael mando, and salma hayek
REVIEWER: lyall carter
A pair of high-frequency traders go up against their old boss in an effort to make millions in a fiber-optic cable deal.
If you're interested in going to The Hummingbird Project because you have a deep love for hummingbirds and are super keen on catching a documentary about those sweet little creatures, I'm glad I've caught you. The Hummingbird Project gets its name from the future home that Anton, a tech coder in the film, wants to purchase in the future. So no hummingbirds but a whole lot of other stuff to delight in here.
Cousins Vincent and Anton are players in the high-stakes game of high-frequency trading, where winning is measured in milliseconds. Their dream is to build a straight fiber-optic cable line 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 the breaking point with their daring adventure.
The Hummingbird Project is a strange film. Strange in that the first two acts play like a thrilling heist film; theres the hatching of the plan to get Vincent and Anton away from the day to day grind, the ground work for the plan, and the continual moves and counter moves designed to get one step ahead of their former boss Eva.
But then in the third act the film completely changes tact. There was always a subtext floating beneath the surface about the empty pursuit of materialism, but that gets shoved right to the forefront of the narrative. This leaves the film to stumble slightly at the finish line instead of sprinting over it.
That being said The Hummingbird Project has a cracker of a cast with Alexander Skarsgard giving the performance of his career - the bald patch, the stiff posture and running style, and the intense introversion all lead you to believe that its Alex's slightly nerdier older brother and not the man himself. This performance is worth admission alone.
Eisenberg is good too; charming, manically angry, and obsessively driven - Eisenberg never dies wondering. And you can't forget Hayek. She steals every scene she is in as she manipulates and is delightfully devious.
Although it has a slightly strange third act, The Hummingbird Project has a stellar cast with a career best performance from an almost unrecognisable Alexander Skarsgrad.