Blu-ray Review: The Hummingbird Project

STUDIO: 1091 Media | DIRECTOR: Kim Nguyen | CAST: Alexander Skarsgard, Salma Hayek, Jesse Eisenberg, Michael Mando, Johan Heldenbergh
RELEASE DATE: June 25, 2019 | PRICE: DVD $18.59, Blu-ray $22.99
SPECS: R | 111 min. | Thriller | 2.35:1 widescreen | stereo

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall 

In the true-life techno-thriller The Hummingbird Project, Jesse Eisenberg (Café Society) plays Vincent Zaleski, a hyperactive schemer who teams up with his quiet, seemingly grounded cousin Andrew Zaleski (Alexander Skarsgard, The Diary of a Teenage Girl) to try to pull off a whale of a scam. The cousins’ play is to lay down a 1,000 mile straight fiber optic line from the Midwest to Wall Street in order to intercept stock sales before they hit New York, then resell them in seconds and cash in big-time.

A major problem is that the technology Vincent has developed for this nefarious plan was done under the auspices of his and his cousin’s former boss (Salma Hayek, How to Be a Latin Lover), and, once she becomes aware of the plot, she plans to stop it.

Despite its less than catchy title (which makes sense when explained within the film), The Hummingbird Project is an entertaining, often fascinating look at greed and technology run amok. Canadian writer-director Kim Nguyen (War Witch) mounts his film like a contemporary take on a 1950s heist film a la The Asphalt Jungle or The Killing, detailing the painstaking efforts of the protagonists in carrying out the crime, then showing the repercussions of their impressive but misguided efforts. At the center of the film are three solid performances: Eisenberg in fast-talking, likeably conniving Mark Zuckerberg/The Social Network mode; the usually macho Skarsgard—he did star in the Legend of Tarzan— against type, balding and introverted; and the fiery Hayek, with grey hair here, enjoyably blustery and threatening.

The Hummingbird Project barely registered in its theatrical release, bringing in less than $500,000 on a limited scale earlier this year. It will likely go down as one of 2019’s most overlooked “movies that got away,” a smart and exciting film about high tech that audiences who don’t read Wired or have a thought process like Bill Gates will enjoy.

Buy or Rent The Hummingbird Project

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.