The important part social media played in the GameStop story is not examined here so much as it is used, effectively, as a visual prop, with montages of crude Reddit comments and news clips of financial journalists. The real-life Wall Street figures, played by a starry line-up, are introduced at the start in ascending order of wealth. Seth Rogen is the hedge fund manager Gabe Plotkin.
As he wanders around his massive property, text on screen tells us his net worth is $400m. That’s impressive until we see that he is on the phone with Steven Cohen (Vincent D’Onofrio), another hedge fund manager, worth $12bn. Then comes Ken Griffin (Nick Offerman), whose investment company gives him a net worth of $16bn. The more they have, the more they have to lose. These characters are all played for comic effect, not as moustache-twirling villains. The film’s benign attitude is that they may lose billions, but they’ll be just fine.
At one point, Gill’s investment balloons to $11m, while Plotkin’s hedge fund has lost several billion. GameStop shares fell back to Earth after the trading app Robinhood, which so many of the small investors had used, restricted trading on the stock to avoid a market crash. The US Congress asked the players in the whole incident to testify about their practices, and as the film ends we see Dano, Rogen and Offerman in that Zoom testimony, intercut with real Congressional representatives. Rehearsing for the hearing, Plotkin’s media advisors have to tell him that his extensive and expensive wine collection is not the best visual backdrop. He seems befuddled. There are no real villains in this comedy of errors, just dumb and dumber money.
Dumb Money is released in the UK and US on 22 September.
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