Finely and Quinn Mulligan are twin brothers who never thought they would make a film about the stock market. Yet here they are, two years removed from the GameStop short squeeze, making a film about that incident and stocks. But Apes Together Strong is more than a story about a few Redditors becoming rich overnight. The Mulligans seek to tell a larger narrative of how struggling working and middle-class “apes” took down Wall Street. The film frames the Apes’ battle with Hedge Funds as a modern David vs. Goliath, serving as a thesis statement on the corruption of Wall Street in the 21st century.
“Apes,” defined by the film, are regular people trying to break into the stock market. An Ape can come from any walk of life, perspective, or even political affiliation. Yet, all Apes have one thing in common, they, inspired by Rise of the Planet of the Apes, recognize the strength of unity. Apes Together Strong highlights the financial struggles of these Apes and, most of all, how they took to Youtube, Reddit, and memes to strike back at an amoral stock market.
While discussing the Apes individually, the filmmakers share the “basic sh*t” of trading stocks to provide the context within the overall Game Stop story. We’re given a quick rundown on stock lingo, ranging from standard Economic terms to Internet-enthused “diamond hands” and “YOLO.” Then the filmmakers ran the gamut on how a rag-tag group of Apes took GameStop and AMC to stock market legends.
“…how a rag-tag group of Apes took GameStop and AMC to stock market legends…”
The documentary has several meta moments with the filmmakers. The film opens with the Mulligans overtly discussing what makes a good documentary and commenting to the audience about misconceptions within the stock market. The bits between complex stock jargon are boastfully cheesy but always serve a larger purpose in explaining the more technical aspects of the GameStop debacle, such as what a “short squeeze” actually is. Despite the tons of information, Apes Together Strong never shies away from the inspirational and delivers a powerful call to action in the closing moments. The balance of information to inspiration throughout is among its most palpable attributes.
Finely and Quinn Mulligan discuss the need for change within the current market and the importance of regulation within the Economy. The brothers make compelling arguments for how without such change, everyday people will be the ones to suffer. In the broad context of the GameStop short squeeze, Apes Together Strong does an excellent job of diving into the information needed to achieve such a massive economic revolution. However, due to the focus on data and terminology, the filmmakers sometimes lose track of the personal narrative within the Internet-influenced war between GameStop v. Wallstreet.
So much of Apes Together Strong bridges the gap between economic doctrine and the average viewer, or Ape as they call it. The film features analysts, Youtubers, and Apes discussing how this moment in trading history changed their lives and inspired them to take back the markets. Despite the comprehensive discussion of Reddit and meme influence on GameStop’s rise, there are few examples, sometimes failing to capture the meme lord energy or Reddit-savviness being discussed and prominently featured in GameStop: Rise of the Players. Due to the lack of immersion in the Ape community, this often feels like a finance doc with a few fun moments rather than the story of Apes who conquered Wall Street. Still, the documentary provides ample information on the inner workings of the modern-day market and, most of all, a railing cry for future Apes hoping to take down some one-percenters.
"…a railing cry for future Apes hoping to take down some one-percenters. "