Don Reviews "Dumb Money"
Whether it is “the invisible wall” in professional wrestling where a good guy doesn’t normally chase a bad guy after he leaves the ringside area or the “fourth wall” used in acting, it’s more about tradition than anything else. When it comes to Wall Street, there are those who say that the real Golden Rule is “he who has the gold, makes the rules” as some of the money managers make their millions off of companies going under by not doing anything to stop the “snowball effect” once it starts; that is how the rich get richer. But what happens when the everyday people say no, and hopes a company survives?
This is the space where Dumb Money takes place. Craig Gillespie (I ,Tonya) directs here with a cast that includes Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, Vincent D’Onofrio, America Ferrera, Nick Offerman, Clancy Brown, and Seth Rogen. Based on true events from the “GameStop stock short squeeze” in 2021, Keith Gill (Dano) is a relatively unknown financial analyst with Mass Mutual who decides to invest his family’s savings into the failing video game store as others use it to “short sell” the stock to make money off of their investors by buying high and selling low. Gill feels GameStop is a good company and worth investing into, and as he posts videos to social media to talk about it, more and more people take what he is saying to heart, driving GameStop’s stock to heights no one could see coming. As the prices rise, the short sellers lose tons of money, and the struggle is on.
Gillespie really leans into his style from I, Tonya with this film, even though there are different subject matters. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it does work by him changing from a mockumentary feel to a narrative. Dano does a good job as Gill, and I think he could be recognized for this film next year alongside strong performances by Brown and Ferrera and a couple of surprises for me in the work by Rogen and Offerman in roles that are a departure from things they have done in the past.
Dumb Money runs right at an hour and forty-five minutes and uses all of that time well in a script that kept me engaged. The mix of drama and comedy is done in the right way here in a story that shows that people do have power when they rise up together to help make change, even to the point of rewriting the unwritten rules of certain areas of society. If you liked I, Tonya, I think you will enjoy this film, so I will recommend it in a Saturday afternoon screening in the theaters.