The Hummingbird Project
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård, Salma Hayek, Michael Mando
The first minutes of dialogue out of Jesse Eisenberg’s mouth, his twitch, that stutter, and you realize he is yet again playing the same character, himself. Oscar-nominated for “The Social Network,” Eisenberg might be one of the most boring actors to watch in mainstream films working today. “The Hummingbird Project” has him playing another facet of his Mark Zuckerberg persona, from a director that doesn’t have a praise worthy credit to his name. You know those nightmares you have where you are trying to escape from somewhere or accomplish some task, but everything is in slow motion and you just-can’t-make-it-happen? That’s “The Hummingbird Project.” A continual “something else has gone wrong” narrative where the lead characters stay in a panic mood for the duration.
Cousins Vincent Zaleski (Eisenberg) and Anton Zaleski (Skarsgård) are high-frequency traders on Wall Street. They work for one of New York’s most powerful and growing companies led by the ambitious Eva Torres (Hayek). Vincent devises a plan to run fiber optic cable direct from the Kansas stock exchange directly to New Jersey, enable them to make trades in milliseconds. He’s found a billionaire backer, and along with Anton, plans to build a delivery line that will be the fastest in the world. When Vincent and Anton abruptly hand in their notices, Torres promises them that whatever they are up to, she will stop it. Vincent fights landowners, the rugged Appalachian Mountains, and even the Amish to get the line built, but his greatest battle is the one happening inside his own body.
"The Hummingbird Project" is lacking in nearly every category from the performances, to editing, to a general interest in the plot.
Kim Nguyen’s script might have been interesting on paper, especially the scene where Anton does something no one expects with a payphone. However, “The Hummingbird Project” is lacking in nearly every category from the performances, to editing, to a general interest in the plot. We are talking about a film that desperately tries to make the competitive world of stock trading engaging. David Fincher made “The Social Network” compelling using a multitude of tricks to make that thriller thrilling. Unfortunately, those techniques and inspirations are not applied here, leaving “The Hummingbird Project” a dull affair.
Hayek’s character seems to have gotten inspiration from the female villain in the Captain Planet cartoon. Skarsgård who is never afraid of transforming both physically or emotionally into something he has never played before, is one of the films few highlights. “He has an Anton moment” as it is referred to by his cousin whenever he does something unusual. The story is told from Eisenberg’s character’s point of view, which is the least interesting of any film he is associated with. Empathy is not a currency in which this film has any investment. The life lessons are obscure, the characters are forgettable and ultimately so is “The Hummingbird Project.”
Eisenberg is not the guy you hire to spice up a movie that’s literally about digging a wire in the ground.