Dumb Money is stupidly funny, but it also has more to give than most comedies. With this contemporary version of David and Goliath, director Craig Gillespie gives a brash side-eye to the Wall Street titans while revealing one of the most post-pandemic, post-internet era stories imaginable.
The money invested by individual, non-professional investors is referred to in the title of the movie, whilst “smart money” refers to the funds channeled by central banks and institutional financiers. It is a demeaning term that the Wall Street elites use to minimize and disparage the regular person.
The internet gave the populace a tremendous instrument at their disposal and made them bored of the wealthy getting richer. Residents from all over the world united in a grassroots campaign to overthrow the financial industry’s Goliath and restore the term “dumb money” as a badge of honor.
Review of “Dumb Money”
Stupid Money, which is based on Ben Mezrich’s book The Antisocial Network, centers on Keith Gill (Paul Dano), a part-time financial analyst who helped create the events with his YouTube videos as “Roaring Kitty” and his Reddit posts promoting GameStop stock under the username “DeepFuckingValue.”
Fun fact: Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss produced The Social Network. That notion was utterly irrational, given that the video game shop was reporting massive losses and that many hedge funds, notably Gabe Plotkin of Melvin Capital (Seth Rogen, somewhat against type), were shorting its sharply declining shares.
After Gill praised the stock so enthusiastically, individual investors poured so much money into it that the stock started to increase sharply. The growth from Gill’s initial $53,000 investment, which constituted the majority of his life savings, to $11 million was extremely remarkable.
Furthermore, as GameStop’s share value increased, it delighted new investors and greatly excited industry heavyweights like Steve Cohen (Vincent D’Onofrio), Ken Griffin (Nick Offerman), and Vlad Temev (Sebastian Stan), whose trading software Robinhood played a pivotal role.
The rich people of Wall Street view rapidly changing developments with disbelief and horror; and some of the retail investors who are riding the wave, desperately trying to figure out if and when to sell. The film then shifts its focus to Gill and his family, including his supportive wife (Shailene Woodley), underachieving brother (Pete Davidson, getting big laughs), and completely confused parents (Kate Burton, Clancy Brown).
In the last group are a financially struggling single nurse (America Ferrera), two heavily indebted college students (Myha’la Herrold, and Talia Ryder), and Anthony Ramos, a GameStop retail employee who is still devoted to the brand. With the help of artistic gimmicks like on-screen graphics that show the major characters’ net worth, the film attempts to spice up the proceedings.
It’s a sophisticated plot that is mainly delivered clearly, if somewhat simplified. He also liberally employs television news footage with well-known personalities like Andrew Ross Sorkin and Jim Cramer, along with Stephen Colbert, who discusses the topic in his own unique way.
Maxine Waters and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, two real-life politicians, are among the performers when Gill and the hedge fund billionaires are forced to appear before Congress (remotely, since the events in the film took place during the height of the COVID crisis).
The fact that the individuals in the movie, with the exception of Gill and his brother, whose abrasive yet affectionate relationship is humorously depicted, are essentially one-dimensional and respond to the ups and downs of the stock with either joy or sadness and typically surprise one of the film’s issues.
This strategy is typified by a protracted montage in which they are all shown yelling, “Holy Fuck!” while staring at their own displays; yet, despite the film’s fast cutting and tempo, this method soon becomes tiresome. That being said, Dano’s outstanding portrayal of the eccentric, self-possessed Gill, who turns into an improbable folk hero, elevates the otherwise riveting plot.
Intended to appeal to those who are interested in the world of finance—which seems to be pretty much everyone these days—Stupid Money (the title alludes to the sums invested in the market by individual investors). This series of events was “the French Financial Revolution,” as none other than Anthony Scaramucci refers to it in one of the available films, and for once it’s entertaining to see the farmers come out on top.
Venue: Toronto International Film Festival (Gala Presentations)
Production: Stage 6 Films, Black Bear, Ryder Picture Company, Winklevoss Pictures
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Cast: Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, Vincent D’Onofrio, America Ferrera, Nick Offerman, Anthony Ramos, Sebastian Stan, Shailene Woodley, Seth Rogen
Director: Craig Gillespie
Screenwriters: Lauren Schuker Blum, Rebecca Angelo
Producers: Aaron Ryder, Teddy Schwarzman, Craig Gillespie
Executive Producers: Michael Heimler, John Friedberg, Johnny Holland, Ben Mezrich, Lauren Schuker Blum, Andrew Swett, Rebecca Angelo, Kevin Ulrich, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winkevoss
Cameraman: Nicolas Karakatsanis
Production Designer: Scott Kuzio
Editor: Kirk Baxter
Composer: Will Bates
Costume Designer: Kameron Lennox
Cast: Mary Vernieu, Bret Howe
1 hour 44 minutes