Cast: Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, America Ferrera, Sebastian Stan, Pete Davidson
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Director: Craig Gillespie
In Cinemas: Now
Dumb Money is the ultimate David vs. Goliath tale, based on the insane true story of everyday people who flipped the script on Wall Street and got rich by turning GameStop (the video game store) into the world’s hottest company. – IMDB.
Director Craig Gillespie brings us Dumb Money, who previously bought us I, Tonya and Cruella; the screenplay comes from the writers of Orange is the New Black. Wall Street Investors coined the term Dumb Money in this movie, which refers to retail investors or ordinary people buying and selling stocks from their homes. In January 2021 and during the COVID-19 pandemic, a short squeeze or a rapid increase occurred with Game Stop Stock. Hedge funds on Wall Street were betting that the stock would go down in value and put up short positions that would enrich them as it continued to drop. Retail Investors then decided to buy the stock, causing the price to go up, and the hedge funds then started to lose money while the new investors became theoretically rich. The central conflict in this situation is that the retail investors driving up the Game Stop price were only rich on paper until they sold the stock. However, if they all sold, the cost would continue declining, and the hedge fund people would win. This is the more engaging contrast in the movie, but it isn’t focussed on much more than it should, as it is a genuine factual dilemma for many investors in today’s market.
Undoubtedly, this film will be compared to Adam McKay’s The Big Short (2015), which certainly has some overlapping themes. Still, instead of focusing on one subject matter of the 2007-2008 Housing Market Crash, Dumb Money tends to merge and cater to the more modern social media society and consumption. Paul Dano plays the online Investor and mastermind by default behind the Game Stop short squeeze, Keith Gill, also known on Redditt under the username DeepFuckingValue (DFV) and on YouTube as Roaring Kitty. He starts a revolution online and gains a substantial number of followers by sharing his opinion that Game Stop stock is undervalued and should be bought, which eventually grows into a movement which rattles Wall Street power players played by Seth Rogan, Vincent D’Onofrio and Nick Offerman as well as Sebastian Stan who plays the co-owner of the stock trading app Robinhood.
The movie cleverly moves into different characters and their situations throughout the film, which are unrelated. It creates tension and realism when we see other people’s reactions and the effect of this financial oddity on the livelihood of others. Pete Davidson plays Kevin, Keith Gill’s brother, who brings that solid comedic contribution whenever he is on screen. He stands neutral when understanding almost everything throughout the movie and represents the audience member who will break down in simple terms when things get complicated. America Ferrera plays Jenny, a struggling nurse who, along with Game Stop employee Marcus Barcia (Anthony Ramos), gambles everything they have into the stocks.
The movie sometimes felt over-ambitious when compacting and including everything about the true story into 105 minutes. It rightly sets up and centres the core of the story around Keith and his family but then spends too much time involving elements that were not necessary.
But this movie does have something for any moviegoer’s tastes; it leaves a lasting impression of the carnage that ensued and the greed of individuals who value money more than people. The quick and click-of-the-fingers style of pacing is always on offer, with a hint of panic and worry that is sometimes unsettling to watch.
Overall: 7.5 / 10