The Hummingbird Project

Not that the world needed another ode to American greed, but here goes.

Vince and Anton are cousins who work in high-frequency trading for Eva Torres. Eva (Salma Hayek) is interested in finding an even higher frequency: on the stock market, traders who could get into the best deals even a fraction of a fraction of a second faster would ultimately have a huge cumulative advantage worth billions of dollars over time. Vince (Jesse Eisenberg) thinks he can one-up her, so he leaves, taking coder cousin Anton (Alexander Skarsgard) along with him.

Their scheme involves digging a fiber-optic line in a straight shot between Kansas and New Jersey. And I do mean straight: through mountains and rivers and Amish country if necessary. Their plan means buying land and thwarting government agencies and raising millions in funding from greedy investors. It also means staying one step ahead of ex-boss Eva, but don’t think for a second she’s going to let them get away with this.

Alexander Skarsgard is nearly unrecognizable as a socially inept, worrywart brainiac who must be micro-managed by his bolder cousin. Jesse Eisenberg continues his one-note symphony, bringing the same manic chipmunk energy he brings to everything because he literally can’t do anything else. And to be honest, not only am I over it, I don’t have room in my life for being bombarded by a neurotic asshole. It’s too much.

The script isn’t doing much for me either. It’s single-minded in its pursuit of success, and boring as hell. All this wheeling and dealing: haven’t we seen this a hundred times before? And it ain’t exactly subtle. For every shot of aggressive drilling and invasive construction, there are literal scenes of both amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties. You can practically feel an anthem swelling somewhere. But the characters are in fact caricatures: Vince is the hyper-achiever, Anton is the Beautiful Mind, and Eva is the Bond villain.

There is no such thing as cinematic drilling. Or fascinating drilling. Or interesting drilling. It’s just drilling. So unless you’re into some weird engineering porn, this movie is really not suitable for viewing. I think there might have been some potential for satirical commentary buried deep in there somewhere, but in this one case they didn’t drill deep enough. The Hummingbird Project is ultimately shallow, and you only wish its runtime was operating at a higher frequency so you could put this one to bed already.

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6 thoughts on “The Hummingbird Project

  1. Liz A.

    I’m not even a little bit interested in them achieving their goal. I’m rooting for them to fail. I don’t think that’s what the movie intended.

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  2. peggyatthemovies

    OMG.. we think exactly the same on this one..it’s been a few months since I’ve seen it, but I say the EXACT SAME THING about Eisenberg. god those one-note performances, even down to his cheek twitch thing..are beyond annoying for me now. And sadly, the movie doesn’t do much though at least Skars went out of his comfort zone in a big way looks wise and so so performance etc..

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  3. Tom

    In premise this sort of reminds me of Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves from 2014(ish). It also starred Jesse Eisenberg and yeah I gotta say the kid is pretty one note. That movie was pretty intense though so I was able to get into it despite almost all around unlikable characters and some pretty overt save-the-environment messaging.

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