THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT – Review by Susan Granger

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Opening with a prologue explaining “high frequency trading,” French/Canadian writer/director Kim Nguyen plunges right into a ruthless race in the highly competitive digital world.

Fast-talking hustler Vincent Zaleski (Jesse Eisemberg) and his nerdy, tech-savvy cousin Anton (Alexander Skarsgard) are determined to run a 1,000-mile underground fiber-optic wire from the Kansas City financial data processing center to Wall Street, bypassing towers and satellites, to get potential stock market prices milliseconds before everyone else….and make millions!

Their plan involves convincing landowners to allow them to run narrow, high-speed cables underneath their property – and that’s not as easy as it sounds, particularly when it involves a national park, mountain range and the recalcitrant elder of Pennsylvania’s Amish community.

Working with their chief engineer (Michael Mando) and principal investor (Frank Schorpion), it’s a colossal engineering challenge and logistical nightmare.

Plus, they’re being tracked by vengeful Wall Street CEO Eva Torres (Salma Hayek), who threatens to sue if Anton uses any of the proprietary codes he created for her company. It’s high-tech industrial espionage.

The title comes from the time it takes for a hummingbird to flap its wings – about 0.15 of s second, which is the advantage they’re seeking.

Unfortunately, Kim Nguyen’s contrived script gets repetitive and the disjointed pacing tedious, as Vincent pitches his concept over-and-over again to various people. Then there’s his melodramatic battle with stomach cancer.

Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”) has played this kind of neurotic, ambitious character before, but intense, introverted Anton is an astounding revelation for actor Alexander Skarsgard (“Tarzan”).

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Hummingbird Project” is a flitting 5, a thriller that’s filled with financial technobabble.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.