Jamie Skinner reviews the latest film of Craig Gillespie's, Dumb Money, rating it a three out of five! A YouTube streamer (Paul Dano) leads a fight against Wall Street hedge fund owners by causing a wave of investments in GameStop.
Cert - 15, Run-time - 1 hour 44 minutes, Director - Craig Gillespie: Reddit taking on Wall Street could, at first presumption, make for a very unserious film. The stereotype may be a series of badly dated, internet-related jokes and meme references. And while there are montages throughout Dumb Money featuring comments, GIFs and interaction from r/WallStreetBets there’s a serious point at hand, made by YouTube streamer Roaring Kitty, better known as Keith Gill (Paul Dano).
The idea that the stock exchange has become exclusively for the rich, played by hedge fund owners who have taken it away from the potential for analysis and luck for the little guy is something Keith wants to fight against. After discussing his interest in the potential of faltering company GameStop his followers invest in the business, causing its stock price to rise. As the price increases and those investing see money they could have never believed the aforementioned hedge fund owners (portrayed by the likes of Seth Rogen, Nick Offerman and Vincent D’Onofrio) begin to panic about the effects on their own wealth.
Alongside such figures there are a number of other characters glimpsed at throughout the run-time. We see the likes of America Ferrera as a hospital worker, Anthony Ramos as a GameStop employee and Talia Ryder and Myha’la Herrold as college students. Each crops up every now and then but not all manage to create a proper connection with the viewer as their interactions with the stock market are largely shown in not-quite-montages. Even Keith’s wife, Caroline (Shailene Woodley) is barely present apart from when to give occasional input into her husband’s actions.
Actions which form the core interest with the film. Dano is reliably understated with his performance throughout, getting across his character’s thoughts - both joys and worries - with effect, especially as his life begins to spiral when the rise in GameStop stock becomes headline news. Such drama particularly helps the second half along where plenty of the big developments come in within the higher stakes nature.
Humour may be brought in more; there are some chuckles here and there but not all are successful, while the first half doesn’t appear to lean into the comedy at all, but there’s still a generally direct and interesting drama at hand. One which is well-written when it comes to its directness in dealing with Wall Street and how it has apparently become inaccessible for ‘the little guy’, particularly considering how quickly this film was announced in response to the real life events (and being based on the 2021 book The Antisocial Network).
Dumb Money has been turned around undeniably quickly, perhaps why a lot of the best stuff focuses on Keith Gill over the larger ensemble. The rest of the cast is good, lifting up the bumpy jumps between others involved in the rise of the once-failing company, just the detail and emotional connection isn’t always there, making for moments which while watchable aren’t always entirely effective.
Jamie Skinner, Three stars ***