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.