|Original title:||Dumb Money|
|Running time:||104 minutes|
|Release date:||15 september 2023|
In the annals of financial history, there are moments that stand out like seismic shocks, exposing the vulnerabilities of an ostensibly invincible Wall Street. Dumb Money, directed by Craig Gillespie, brilliantly recounts one such history-making event: GameStop's 2021 stock surge. Craig Gillespie, known for his work on the film I, Tonya, navigates the complexities of high finance with finesse, creating a captivating tale that transcends the boundaries of a traditional financial thriller.
At the heart of this cinematic triumph is an ensemble cast led by Paul Dano, whose portrayal of Keith Gill, also known as Roaring Kitty, is nothing short of captivating. Gill, a finance enthusiast living in Brockton, Massachusetts, becomes the story's unexpected hero. Dano infuses Gill with a convincing blend of determination, vulnerability and conviction, making him the relatable face of a movement that would momentarily disrupt the Wall Street status quo.
The film cleverly frames the story several months before the GameStop saga reaches its climax. Gill, who lives far from the financial epicenter of New York, trades stocks at night. His journey is juxtaposed against the backdrop of a financial industry that often revels in complex terminology and opaque practices, intentionally distancing itself from the common man's understanding. This intentional obscurity becomes a central theme, setting the stage for the clash between so-called "dumb money" (retail investors) and institutional giants.
The entire cast, including Seth Rogen, Nick Offerman, Shailene Woodley, Vincent D'Onofrio, Nick Offerman, Anthony Ramos, Sebastian Stan and Pete Davidson, deliver outstanding performances that bring life to a story that could easily have become bogged down in financial jargon. Pete Davidson, in particular, injects humor and levity into the film, providing comic relief without detracting from the gravity of the underlying financial drama.
What sets Dumb Money apart is its deft treatment of the socio-economic dynamics at play. Craig Gillespie, along with the capable screenwriting team of Lauren Schuker Blum, Rebecca Angelo and Ben Mezrich, manage to humanize those left behind in this financial struggle. Characters such as a nurse (America Ferrera), a GameStop store clerk (Anthony Ramos) and students seeking to challenge the Wall Street elite are poignant reminders of the societal inequalities perpetuated by the financial system.
The film brilliantly captures the zeitgeist, incorporating real footage, memes and newsreels that not only plunge the viewer into chaos, but also intelligently connect them to contemporary Internet culture. In doing so, Dumb Money avoids the pitfall of feeling like a historical relic and instead resonates as a mirror reflecting the power of online communities and the potential of collective action.
Although the story takes creative liberties and features composite characters, it remains true to the spirit of the GameStop saga. The pace is brisk, and Gillespie's clear direction ensures that even viewers unfamiliar with the intricacies of finance can grasp the essence of the struggle between David and Goliath.
As the film moves closer to a Congressional hearing, Craig Gillespie deftly captures the tension by using actual members of Congress to grill fictional versions of Gill, hedge fund manager Gabe Plotkin (Seth Rogen) and others. The intersection of fiction and reality adds a new layer to the film's multidimensional narrative.
Dumb Money transcends the boundaries of a financial thriller, offering a cinematic experience that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The film not only traces a moment in financial history, but also serves as a poignant commentary on power, wealth and the potential for change in the modern age. Gillespie's prowess as a director, combined with an exceptional cast and well-crafted script, make Dumb Money a must-see film, inviting audiences to reconsider the dynamics of Wall Street and the possibilities that arise when "dumb money" refuses to play by the rules.
Directed by Craig Gillespie
Written by Lauren Schuker Blum, Rebecca Angelo
Based on The Antisocial Network by Ben Mezrich
Produced by Aaron Ryder, Teddy Schwarzman, Craig Gillespie
Starring Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, Vincent D'Onofrio, America Ferrera, Nick Offerman, Anthony Ramos, Sebastian Stan, Shailene Woodley, Seth Rogen
Cinematography : Nikolas Karakatsanis
Edited by Kirk Baxter
Music by Will Bates
Production companies: Columbia Pictures, Stage 6 Films, Black Bear Pictures, Ryder Picture Company
Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing (United States), Metropolitan FilmExport (France)
Release dates : September 8, 2023 (TIFF), September 15, 2023 (United States), November 29 2023 (France)
Running time : 104 minutes
Viewed on November 15, 2023 (Amazon VOD)