Charles Merritt was confused and concerned by this stock-market comedy
The Film: Dumb Money
Watch if you liked: The Big Short, Social Network
Running time: 104 minutes
Genre: Biography, Comedy
Overview: Based on the true story of how YouTuber and Redditor Keith Gill convinced thousands of people to bet against Wall Street and invest in GameStop. But does his gamble pay off and what will it cost him?
Please note, the trailer has bad language from the start
What you liked:
There’s some great performances in this and the cast draw you in to each of the individual storylines. You feel invested in the personal stakes of each character (pun very much intended) and there’s an underlying tension that plays well. I very much had low level anxiety throughout knowing that the characters could lose all they had invested in stocks - especially those who had put all their money in to the cause.
What you didn’t like:
I’m surprised upon writing this review that the runtime is so short in comparison to how long the film felt… It didn’t necessarily drag but I don’t think it fully held my attention all the way through.
I don’t think the film really explained what was going on for those new to the subject - I have no idea about the stock market and I’m not sure I could tell you much more now compared to when I walked in.
The film isn’t bad but it’s not very memorable either, despite it’s attempt to appeal to a short attention span audience. As the movement was heavily supported and influenced by TikTok-ers this makes sense - lots of modern music and quick cuts. I’m not on TikTok myself so I didn’t find this very appealing but maybe it will appeal more to a teenage audience. Having said that, my screening was attended by myself and late middle-aged couples, so perhaps the film didn’t reach it’s target audience or the target audience wasn’t who the studios thought it would be.
Thoughts for parents:
There’s a lot of bad language as well as drug references and brief nudity.
I laughed as the advert that played before the film was one which talked about investing safely and not taking risks on the stock market. It soon became apparent this was very much an intentional ad placement as the film is all about this.
Whilst I found myself rooting for those who were taking the risk in investing in GameStop, I couldn’t help but feel uneasy about the prospect of throwing money at something that isn’t real. I can’t exactly talk about wasting money - anyone who’s seen my Lego collection will tell you that spending wisely is something I need to work on - but at least my expenditure is in something that is physical. Investing, from my limited understanding, is handing over a lot of money and hoping it pays itself back but there’s a potential you lose it all and gain nothing from it.
Perhaps the biggest gamble is that the game is rigged. There’s too many people who have played the game for a longer time who hold power and influence over how the game is played. The best Biblical analogy I can think of is the Pharisees and Sadducees, they controlled the temple and rigged it to give them power and influence, making it hard for the poor to participate in God’s house.
Matthew 16:26 sprang to mind whilst watching this film - ‘What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?’.
Questions for the family:
What are the risks of becoming rich?
What is privilege and how can we use it to help those without it?