16th Oct2019

‘The Hummingbird Project’ VOD Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Jessie Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård, Salma Hayek, Michael Mando, Johan Heldenbergh, Ayisha Issa, Mark Slacke, Sarah Goldberg, Frank Schorpion, Kwasi Songui, Conrad Pla, Julian Bailey, Jessica Greco | Written and Directed by Kim Nguyen


Written and directed by Kim Nguyen (City of Shadows, Truffle), The Hummingbird Project, which stars Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland), Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) and Salma Hayek (Frida), is a thriller that follows two guys with a singular dream to build a fibre-optic cable between New Jersey and Kansas, which would be a millisecond faster than the competition, which would in turn make them into millionaires. Their ruthless and uber-powerful ex-boss Eva (Hayek) however, is doing her damnedest to slide between them and beat them. It’s a story of a strong and vicious need for financial gain, but also a story of finding a true self and reconnecting with things that truly matter.

The major issue that stood out to me here came with the general feeling of tension and high-stakes that was obviously supposed to be here in droves. The whole concept of these two guys trying to succeed in this risky situation isn’t explored to the point where we feel like that risk is that high. I did enjoy Eisenberg and Skarsgård when they were together on screen, but chemistry-aside, there was a very slow pace going on here that bordered on dragging rather than slowly building towards a riveting and fulfilling climax. The direction work from Nguyen is solid and slick, and the film looks the part, but sadly the writing isn’t the best, with the screenplay falling flat and there being a real divide in tone that jolts you from the happenings on screen. One moment you are being told, in no uncertain terms, that you’re watching a thriller with criminal elements, and then you’re watching a friendship flick with a kinder heart. The coldness and sudden buddy-buddy tone is odd and made me a little confused. It does seem to struggle to find itself, unable to really figure out exactly what it wants to be.

It’s not the most exciting synopsis when you read it on paper, and to be entirely honest with you, it doesn’t really make for an exciting movie either. The concept of two fellas wanting to lay-cable (no euphemisms here) isn’t the most captivating, relatable or exciting thing in the world, and that was the problem. Perhaps the screenplay and tone issues could have been eased a little if the actual plot was interesting enough, but it kind of isn’t. The story is original, though, and tries to highlight the lowlight of Wall Street and the financial sector by holding a torch on it and showing us some of the warts and scars, and it partly works in that sense, but never fully.

It feels like a missed opportunity, really, and while this isn’t, by any means, a terrible film, or a bad one, it certainly is a movie that struggles to find its way and in that confusion and lack of self-knowledge, it falls into a hole of tedium and becomes a dragged-out affair that never really kicks things into third-gear. A very good cast who do a decent job in their roles, and a director who is obviously very skilled behind the camera, are the positive elements to a struggling film that wasn’t the most enjoyable experience and became something of a chore as it went on. A shame, because I feel like this could have been way more interesting than it turned out to be.

** 2/5

The Hummingbird Project is out now on Digital HD.


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