The Hummingbird Project

In the shares business, being first is all that matters; unhappy with their present employment in the high-frequency trading stock market, cousins Vincent and Anton Zaleski would much prefer to be their own bosses in a project which could revolutionise their industry if they can can shave the digital round trip between Kansas and New York to sixteen milliseconds.

Vincent describing the fibre project as a “can’t lose” proposition to his potential investors, bound to secrecy, the challenges are multiple but fall into three broad categories: the physical drilling of an undeviating pipeline four inches in diameter over a thousand miles straight through mountains and swamps, the protocols which Anton will design to miminise lag, and what their former boss will do if she finds out.

Written and directed by Kim Nguyen, The Hummingbird Project refers to both the astonishing transit speeds the cousins hope to achieve, amplifying both profits and the possibility of financial crashes, and Vincent’s dream of what his share of the profit will allow him and his family, “a country house on a hill, a small road, hummingbirds.”

Dawn of Justice‘s Jesse Eisenberg is Vincent, uncompromising and refusing to take no for an answer from the householders, the Amish community or the Appalachian mountains which stand in his way, or his doctors who tell him to stand down, while The East‘s Alexander Skarsgård is Anton, timid and apprehensive, the brains which can make the operation work yet clueless as to what is going on.

While The Hummingbird Project aims for the precision engineering achieved by Orphan Black‘s Michael Mando as the Zaleski’s project manager, Nguyen’s film is lots of technical talk with very little actually happening, Skarsgård indulging in quirks to make Anton interesting while Tale of Tales‘ Salma Hayek is reduced to pantomime histrionics.

Eisenberg essentially in the same part he played in The Social Network, with no grander goal than to make already rich people even richer it is difficult to care about the demands of another socially awkward, self-important narcissist such as Vincent, the delicate flap of the hummingbird’s wings lost in the bluster of arrogant men in over their heads and leaving chaos in their wake.

The Hummingbird Project is available for digital download from Friday 4th October