Alex Reviews "Dumb Money"
There has never been a time in human history where the strong do not dominate and subjugate those weaker or less fortunate than themselves. As humans evolved, this went from physical superiority to financial. Unfortunately, that structure will always exist. Sometimes, the population reaches a breaking point and pushes back. Dumb Money highlights the reddit-fueled revolution of the average investor against the billionaire “money men” of Wall Street that were quite literally banking on GameStop crumbling into another failed business.
Paul Dano (The Batman) is our perfect underdog who you cannot help but root for even though he has spent a majority of his career playing a mostly unlikeable gallery. He still has his very muted delivery, but there is so much heart resonating from his character it transcends the spoken word. It is both relatable and awe-inspiring.
Each member of the retail traders exemplifies the heart of Dano’s u/RoaringKitty in unique ways that ensure the audience can relate and genuinely feel for characters. America Ferrara, Anthony Ramos, and the pair of newcomers, Myha’la and Talia Ryder, all grab a heartstring and pull together. Awkward to say, but I hope they are all based on real people who are doing great because I feel for them. Ferrara’s determination, Ramos’s flair, and Myha’la/Ryder’s resolve in their performances took what could have been throwaway scenes and turned them into a battle cry for the average person.
Countering the “good guys” are the grand masters of subdued fury: Vincent D’Onofrio and Nick Offerman, as the hedge fund moguls behind the shorting of GameStop and both nail “too big to fail” aristocrats to an unsettling degree. Each disconnected from the world exactly as their real-world counterparts appear to be. Using Seth Rogen’s firm as a pawn between their empires perfectly illustrates how even a billionaire can be seen as expendable by the ultra-rich, the same way they see our heroes as Dumb Money.
Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) shoots the film in a gritty, intimate manner that allowed all of the aforementioned performances to carry the weight of this incredible story. It suits the narrative perfectly and I cannot wait to watch it again. One of the biggest aspects I will love to rewatching is the framing as it changes among the characters. It seemed like those who “have” were shot wider to show off the extravagance or exemplify emptiness depending on the scene, while the “have nots” all have a very tight shot resembling their much smaller worlds. This was genius if done throughout the film, but I am unsure if it stood out in a few scenes or was done consistently in each scene.
Dumb Money is one of my favorite films for 2023 and will be one that will become regular viewing for me as soon as it is available in a home format. Before that however, I hope everyone will join me in holding together and seeing this picture many times over in a theater.