The Hummingbird Project: TIFF 2018 Review
Up and coming Canadian director, Kim Nguyen (Bellevue, Two Lovers and A Bear), landed a dream cast for his latest feature The Hummingbird Project. Lead by Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgard, & Salma Hayek, The Hummingbird Project is about two cousins (Eisenberg & Skarsgard) that are two peons who work for Wall Street tycoon, Eva Torres (Hayek), who have a big idea of their own to circumvent the typical way of doing things in the market. They, flamboyantly, quit their jobs and begin the daunting venture of building an information pipeline through several states.
At it’s heart, this is a David vs. Goliath film as the two “Davids” race against time to execute their plan before the “Goliath” that is Torres and her endless resources finds out, as their idea, if successful, will put a major dent in her hard-earned, well-established bottom line. Through the initialization of their project and attempt to see it through, the cousins’ individual skill sets are pushed to the limits.
We have seen Eisenberg in this role several times before as the overly-ambitious, almost obsessed mouth of the operation, cleverly pushing his will onto others with an endless stream of words, jargon, and the promise of riches beyond the comprehension of the imaginations of anyone he is selling to. However, we have never seen the usually, suave, viking-esque Skarsgard in a role like this before. He plays an older, unattractive, balding, introverted, socially-inept, anxiety-ridden, nerdy genius who’s hard work is actually what makes the project possible. The interesting dynamic between the two is what keeps the audience engaged. Even though the project is nothing without the brains, it is the mouth that is running the show.
We have also never really seen Salma in a role like this either. She is, of course, still gorgeous, which is a given in every film she appears in (guys, she’s in my top 3. I’m allowed to gush a little). What is refreshing about her Eva Torres, is that she is absolutely ruthless in the role. She is the undeniable head of a multi-billion dollar Wall Street monster of a company. Salma plays it perfectly. She is literally on top of all the going’s on, big or small of the company, and not because she is the smartest in the room, but because she has made sure to hire the smartest in every room and is a master of manipulating those people. Salma, her black-silver balayage hair, and her Terry Richardson glasses, are an undeniable force to be reckoned with. Even though she plays the antagonist, the movie could have used a lot more of Eva Torres.
The Hummingbird Project definitely has it’s moments, but it is what I call a “white-people problems” film. It’s a film about greed, family dynamics, and, yes, David vs. Goliath and only really affects the main characters within, and no one else really. Nguyen carefully weaves these themes throughout the film so well that you never really know who to root for. The little guys? Sure, however, in order to achieve this dream, they used the resources, and some of the work that they stole from their employer, so are they really the good guys? Eva Torres was paying them well, but they wanted more, so is she really the bad guy? At the end of the day, why would someone like me go see this type of movie at TIFF? Well, that’s obvious, isn’t it?:
Salma has a thing for me. Need proof?
- She saw me in the audience and asked the moderator to pick me.
- Note the flirtatious way she is holding the microphone
- Note the near unbreakable eye contact
- Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to properly catch it on film, but as she was leaving the stage, she waved to the crowd and when she got in front of me, and I yelled her name, she looked right at me… and … get this… BLEW ME A KISS!!! (just me… true story).
I have legally changed my name to Curtis Hayek.