Dumb Money is not about Brooklyn Beckham, an alleged celebrity whose wealth is directly linked to his parents although frankly the saying, ‘more money than sense’ would be just as apt if he only had 50p. But the Dumb Money of the title here is the derogatory name given by hedge fund fat cats to those non industry investors. But for once the real dumb money is those hedge fund managers worth billions whose fortunes were ruined by a horde of amateur investors led by Keith Gill (Paul Dano) aka Roaring Kitty his alter ego on his own Reddit channel and, believing that the video games store GameStop was undervalued and worth a punt.
At the time GameShop was on the verge of going under and to simplify what hedge fund managers do they essentially bet big on companies failing earning and then make millions if not billions off others misery. It’s a pretty shameful practice but all perfectly legitimate and this becomes a David and Goliath story with the film focussing on the minnows that include a nurse (America Ferrera) a GameStop employee (Anthony Ramos) and a pair of in debt students. On the other side of the fence are the hedge fund managers played by Seth Rogen (excellent) , Vincent D’Onofrio and Nick Offerman as Ken Griffin as real life managers and a truly odious and at times stupid bunch who get their comeuppance. Their downfall starts because the now increasingly wealthy amateur investors, at least on paper, were using a trading app called Robin Hood whose owners colluded with the hedge fund managers to prevent the investors buying shares effectively meaning they were interfering in a free market but to ultimately catastrophic effect the hedge fund managers when a Congressional investigation goes after them
Based on a book by Ben Mezrich ( who also write the book that The Social Network was based) and is something of a companion piece to The Big Short but without the flashy quirks. It’s a big cast which can be a difficult to act to balance but is done well here by director Craig Gillespie who has form for true story films having helmed ‘Pam & Tommy’ and also, ‘I, Tonya’ and Dumb Money is as enjoyable as those never outstaying its welcome and doesn’t bog itself down in financial minutiae that might alienate audiences.
Resisting the temptation to lambast the evils of capitalism Dumb Money is smart stuff and Paul Dano continues to demonstrate why he is one of the brightest and most engaging of actors.
related feature: How Paul Dano came up with The Riddler costume in The Batman
related feature: What we found at the The Batman premiere……
instagram; Our invite to a special screening
Here’s the Dumb Money trailer……