A loud and frenetic character piece that doesn’t always give its large ensemble enough for viewers to really invest in (get it), but also delivers stock talk succinctly enough for the casual viewer to understand while kind of inherently hammering home its ideas around power, exclusivity, and the frustration that comes with not having access to the biggest motivating factor of human behavior.

Eclectic director Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya, Cruella) knows the script from Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo has a lot going on (maybe too much at times) but he and editor Kirk Baxter (a frequent Fincher collaborator) seem to have understood the assignment from the get-go as there is a certain tempo to the film’s tone that allows for the transitions from one set of characters to the next and from one scenario to another to all feel like part of the same conversation. Whether it’s Pete Davidson, a DoorDash driver, scolding his brother immaturely for not selling at $11 million or Seth Rogen, portraying billionaire Gabe Plotkin, yelling at someone about his tennis courts there is a keen sense of forward motion in the construction of the film that keeps things moving as well as entertaining to the point you don’t question what is lacking or consider what could have been; you’re too busy trying to keep up with all that is going on to catch your breath, but most importantly…you’re having a good time.

A true time stamp of a film, Dumb Money is a thing of such recent history it may feel almost irrelevant in this moment but will undoubtedly serve as a fascinating encapsulation of this very specific snapshot in time years down the road. Presently, the casting makes this a lot of fun - especially in regard to the big wigs taking big shots – but this is Dano’s show and while, as someone from the South, I can’t tell whether he’s doing a good Boston accent or not, the performance itself is super charming and wholly endearing. We’re meant to come out of this rooting for Keith Gill and you absolutely do (I haven’t been able to stop asking for “tendies” since I saw the film).

Paul Dano is Keith Gill in Craig Gillespie's Dumb Money.
©Sony Pictures 
Moreover, what ends up making this movie version of recent history feel relevant and what will undoubtedly cause it to still feel timely in the future is how it is more about the main ideas than it is the details of this particular instance. Yes, there is plenty of dialogue in and around how the financial world and short squeezes actually work, especially in the ever-changing technological landscape of this occasion, but the film isn’t as interested in the inner-workings of as much as it is in reminding us of the plight of the little guy.

This will forever remain an endearing theme no matter how many systems fall or how many initiatives take place because money and power will always protect money and power. This is maybe the most valuable thing Dumb Money reminds us of by cinematically realizing the contrast between what money can buy and how it impacts those who don’t have it to spend. That isn’t to say Gillespie has made a sincere and pure piece of cinema advocating for said little guy (this was still produced by the Winklevoss twins after all, children of a self-made tycoon), but he has made a film with a clear intent and killer needledrops that, while only appearing average upon initial viewing, already feels like it’s growing in estimation the longer it is considered.

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