DUMB MONEY opens September 15
The stock market seems very mysterious, for those of us who don’t day trade or dabble with investments on a regular basis. Terms such as “short” and “squeeze” can be confusing, even in the context of a stranger-than-fiction story like the one found in DUMB MONEY. So it’s a credit to director Craig Gillespie and screenwriters Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo that their film is able to take audiences on a roller coaster ride through high finance without losing the audience’s focus, and putting several human faces on what turns out to be a remarkable story.
DUMB MONEY held its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and is set to open at AMC Theatres on September 29. The ripped-from-the-headlines drama starts off with hedge fund operators Gabe Plotkin (Seth Rogen) and Steve Cohen (Vincent D’Onofrio), who are using their enormous wealth to bet against the struggling video game company GameStop. Every metric tells these savvy investors that GameStop is on its last legs, so they are shorting the stock, and waiting for a collapse.
Only, that collapse doesn’t come. Instead, an amateur analyst named Keith Gill (Paul Dano) believes that the GameStop stock is undervalued, and he talks up the company on his YouTube channel, as well as in the Reddit forum WallStreetBets. And people buy in. A lot. DUMB MONEY introduces a number of people from all walks of life – a health care worker (America Ferrara), a GameStop clerk (Anthony Ramos), and two college students – who take a gamble on Gill’s stock recommendation. They put their own money into the market, and turn GameStop into an overnight sensation/ And as the market tilts in their favor, this David-versus-Goliath story takes several unexpected twists as it builds its palpable suspense.
You don’t need to know a thing about the Nasdaq to appreciate the drama at the heart of DUMB MONEY. The movie’s script does an excellent job of establishing the stock market as a gamble. And when you are up, there’s a powerful push and pull that everyone feels as they try to decide, “Should I cash out now? Or keep going, and risk the stock taking a dive?” The GameStop situation seems like an anomaly. Because of Keith Gill’s unique online personality – he went by the screen name Roaring Kitty – the online community that followed him used viral memes on TikTok to foster this artificial fight between retail traders and traditional Wall Street organizations. But DUMB MONEY never takes its eye off the point that behind every investment rested a real human being who couldn’t afford to lose, and couldn’t count on a government bailout if everything went south.
DUMB MONEY is as entertaining as it is informative, putting emotional stories behind a story that you probably remember hearing on the news. Paul Dano anchors the heart of the narrative, but he’s surrounded by memorable performances from Pete Davidson, Seth Rogen, America Ferrara, and Nick Offerman, who plays a powerful hedge fund mastermind who drastically affects the story. This is a powerful drama that’s worth seeking out, even if the stock market isn’t your game of choice.
Watch the trailer and get your tickets to see DUMB MONEY at your local AMC theatre.
DUMB MONEY opens September 15