TIFF Premiere: The Hummingbird Project
By Nina Kalirai
Thrilling. Comedic. Emotional. Those are the main emotions director Kim Nguyen evokes from the audience in his latest feature The Hummingbird Project.
The film, which is just under two hours, follows two cousins, Vinny and Anton. Throughout the film, Vinny continuously convinces his cousin Anton to join him on his ventures, the first one being quitting their jobs on Wall Street to pursue a fibre-optic tunnel from Kansas to New Jersey. The purpose of building this tunnel is to give them a one millisecond faster rate to receive transactions on the New York Stock Exchange.
Anoton is begged by the pairs boss, Eva, to stay on Wall Street, and she soon finds out about the pairs plan to build the tunnel, with help from codes the Vinny and Anton were educated on from Wall Street. The two spend most of their time in Pennsylvania digging and constructing a vast majority of the tunnel, with Anton also configuring how to adjust the code to make transactions travel at a speed one millisecond faster than the current speed on Wall Street.
Vinny spends most of his time overseeing construction sites to ensure that everything goes according to plan and going back and forth between Pennsylvania and New York to meet with a business partner who agreed to fund the tunnel for a share of its success.
Eva discovers exactly what Vinny and Anton are up to and has a face to face encounter with Anton in Pennsylvania, threatening his freedom due to him using codes from Wall Street to construct the tunnel. Anton takes no notice of Eva’s threats and shortly after, cracks the code to make the tunnel travel at the desired speed. However, Anton’s victory is short-lived as he is faced with a confrontation that undermines his freedom minutes after successfully cracking the code.
Meanwhile, with Anton needing to be extremely focused on the code, Vinny decides to hide a life-threatening illness he discovers he is diagnosed with mid-way through the construction of the tunnel and insists on continuing working on the project.
Throughout the rest of the film, we see the two emotionally try to overcome their individual problems, which eventually come to light and affect the construction of the tunnel as a whole.
The acting in The Hummingbird Project was impeccable. Vinny (Jesse Eisenberg) plays a perfect New Yorker on Wall Street, constantly on edge and always trying to close the next business deal. Anton (Alexander Skarsgård) impressively channels your typical, awkward nerd who does what he is told and is easily convinced, and Eva (Salma Hayek) does an astonishing job at playing the role of a woman in power that her employees fear and obey at all costs. The emotions evoked by all three of these main characters are sure to make your heart race, make you laugh and make you cry.
Watch the Q&A with the cast & crew of The Hummingbird Project here:
© TIFF Talks | YouTube
Although the genre of film I am most accustomed to is romantic comedies, The Hummingbird Project is definitely a compelling film that I would recommend to all.
*Editor’s Note: The Humming Project as screened at the Toronto International Film Festival ‘18
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