The Hummingbird Project from Kim Nguyen [9/10]

An entrancing story idea seemingly derived from Michael Lewis’s “Flash Boys“undergirds The Hummingbird Project,” a brilliant 21st century movie from Kim Nguyen. Glib, driven Vincent (perfectly cast for Jesse Eisenberg, who delivers a stunning performance) ropes in his uber-geeky wizard cousin Anton (guess what, Alexander Skarsgard is even more outstanding in this role, capturing the tics and sheer intellect and humor of a near genius) to build a 1,000 mile fiber-optic cable, through houses, fields, mountains, from a Kansas stock exchange hub to a New Jersey one, shaving a millisecond (the time it takes a hummingbird to bat its wings, right?) off transaction times and offering millions in profits to investors. Nguyen doesn’t waste time with preambles or introspection, instead it’s pell-mell action as the drills begin drilling, as opponents rain hell on the two cousins, as mountains break drill bits. This is a very intense, almost high-brow film, even amongst the particularities of tunnels and deals and back-stabs, and if you’re not intoxicated by the very concept of high-speed, high-frequency trading, you might be bemused by the flights into humor, pathos, and moralising. I was entranced and would gladly watch it again.

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