After gaining the trust of a skeptical investor, Bryan Taylor (Frank Schorpion), Vincent and Anton elope from their manipulative boss Eva (Salma Hayek), who threatens to steal all their codes – and worse, implicate Anton in stealing them from her. As the cousins involve “driller extraordinaire” Mark Vega (Michael Mando) in their scheme, Eva tracks their activities; they eventually come head-to-head in their race for the fastest connection. A dreadful diagnosis halfway through the film puts everything in perspective, allowing for compassion to peek through all the blinded rapacity. Time becomes an issue, and as Vincent and Anton encounter obstacles – a drilling disaster, a reluctant Amish-like community – the stakes rise.
Although The Hummingbird Project deals with complex subjects, like the aforementioned “neutrino messaging,” along with tech and stock exchange jargon, Nguyen effortlessly makes it accessible, and less pedagogical than Adam McKay did with his Financial Crisis for Dummies, The Big Short. The filmmaker also knows his way around a resonant sequence. One such scene involves Vincent and Anton trying to convince a racist man to sell them a strip of his property to run their wire through. Another particularly moving bit has Vincent falling apart at a massage parlor, his confident veneer slipping away. Nguyen wisely offsets some of the grimness with surprising humor, such as Anton’s fear of flying flaring out before the plane even moves (“Nothing happened,” Vincent later explains, “we had a little Anton moment on the plane.”)
“…Eisenberg plays Vincent with gusto he hasn’t displayed since embodying Zuckerberg…”