The Hummingbird Project Movie Review
Sometimes you sit there, scratch your head, and wonder why someone decided to make a movie about a certain topic—and how said movie got approved, casted, filmed, edited, distributed, and marketed. Take The Hummingbird Project, a “business” thriller about two dudes who decide to build a 1,000-mile fiber-optic cable line between Kansas and New York so that they can make high-frequency stock trades quicker than their competitors.
Even more baffling is that The Hummingbird Project is actually quite good—for a movie about two dudes building a fiber-optic cable line.
Jesse Eisenberg and Alexandar Skarsgård both deliver top-tier performances in this unlikely little film. Eisenberg, who taps into a bit of his Mark Zuckerberg role from back in the day, demonstrates his oft-overlooked range, transitioning from nonstop hustler to emotional wreck in a blink of an eye, often in the same scene. And Skarsgård, sporting a not-so-sexy bald head and equally not-so-sexy personality, is nearly unrecognizable in all the right ways.
The two together are a tour de force of which the movie can never quite match. Written and directed by Kim Nguyen (director of the Oscar-nominated War Witch), The Hummingbird Project is an accomplishment on its own—for a movie to even exist about the determination of two men to build a fiber-optic cable line (my eyes droop every time I write those words) let alone for it to be any good is impressive. But the seemingly mundane plot can only be stretched so far, the intensity of its two stars channeled only so much.
It’s sort of a movie that just exists, an interesting endeavor about something that is ultimately not very interesting. Of course, the movie isn’t actually about fiber-optic lines—it’s about the journey to build those lines against the odds (and perhaps federal law). Nguyen makes the most of the material—and the screenplay is more than powerful enough to evoke the best of the talent involved (which also includes Salma Hayek and Michael Mando)—but it’s also a corporate thriller that sort of straight lines, inevitably, toward the obvious and only conclusion.
The Hummingbird Project is compelling in many ways, but there just isn’t quite enough here—aside from the performances—to get your wings fluttering. Nguyen is clearly a talented filmmaker and knows how to surround himself with talented stars, but as entertaining as it is at times, there isn’t a glaring reason as to why I should recommend this film to others.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.