Toronto Film Festival 2023: Dumb Money


Director: Craig Gillespie
Writers: Lauren Schuker Blum, Rebecca Angelo, Ben Mezrich

Starring: Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, Vincent D'Onofrio, America Ferrera, Nick Offerman, Anthony Ramos, Seth Rogen, Sebastian Stan
Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Synopsis: Dumb Money is the ultimate David vs. Goliath tale, based on the insane true story of everyday people who flipped the script on Wall Street and got rich by turning GameStop (yes, the mall videogame store) into the world's hottest company.

Craig Gillespie's Dumb Money, is an entertaining yet hollow look at the events that unfolded when GameStop became the stock of Wall Street. On the surface, all of the pieces are there. The cast is extremely solid. Paul Dano plays a very engaging Keith Gill who can draw the audience into this "David vs Goliath" tale. He plays the underdog well, particularly against Offerman, Rogen and Stan who all play the stereotypical Wall Street asshole perfectly. This is what makes this film work as an entertainment piece. If the purpose is to just view this as a dumbed down, simple, David vs Goliath style tale then it does it's job. The problem is that the real story behind GameStop, meme stocks & Reddit is a far more complex and complicated tale that just doesn't get told here.

Since this film is more interested in being a black & white, good versus evil type of tale, it doesn't reveal just how many people (non-wall street people) also ended up losing a lot of money because of this. On the flip side, it made it seem like the hedge funds lost but in reality, they didn't and most of those rich people stayed rich. It also skips over the toxic nature of the Wallstreet Bets subreddit and how Gill might not have been the perfect, guy with clean hands in all of this. There's also no connection into other memestocks, the move into NFTs and other things that also started to trend after. Now to be fair, there's probably no way this film could have gone into all of that. But on the other hand, an Adam McKay film probably would have or at least attempted to.

Judging this film as a singular entertainment piece with no larger purpose, the film will work for audiences enough to be entertaining. But there won't be any larger discussions or even lasting memories from it. Which is unfortunate because it definitely has the cast to be a more memorable film.

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Charles (Kriss)

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