Dumb Money (2023)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on January 31, 2024 @ tonymacklin.net.

Dumb Money (Prime) is a smart film.

Based on real events and actual people, it's the story of how an unappreciated stock GameStop became an internet sensation because of one man's attention.

"I like the stock" were four little words that caused a frenzy.

Keith Gill (Paul Dano) worked out of his basement in Brockton, Massachusetts. Wearing a red bandanna and various t-shirts with kittens on them, he drew a loyal following and got them interested in a minor stock for a video game store.

Despite big financial companies shorting the stock, it didn't fall in price as such a stock does. Instead it kept vaulting higher and higher in value. It became an unimagined challenge to the industry, and a source of immediate fortunes.

It also put the investors in the position of keeping or selling. How much is enough? If they didn't sell, they could lose it all. Let the game continue.

What holds the film together are the performances. Paul Dano is very appealing as the self-effacing Keith. He gives the film its charm. Shailene Woodley as Keith's supportive wife underplays and adds humanity.

Pete Davidson supplies energy as Kevin, Keith's lively brother.

America Ferrera as a nurse trying to raise money is her usual earnest, pleasing self.

Seth Rogen, Vincent D'Orofrio, and Nick Offerman portray the quirky bastions of wealth.

Craig Gillespie's (I,Tonya, 2017) direction is brisk and spirited.

A major source for Dumb Money is the book The Antisocial Network by Ben Mezrich. Mezrich also wrote the book The Social Network and was credited with Aaron Sorkin for the screenplay.

One great irony is that among the producers for Dumb Money are the Winklevoss twins, who were the "villains" in The Social Network. The twins are planning another film based on Mezrich's book about them titled Bitcoin Billionaires.

They know a good thing when they see it.

© 2000-2023 Tony Macklin