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Dumb Money


Stars: Paul Dano, Shailene Woodley, Pete Davidson, Seth Rogen, America Ferrara, Vincent D'Onofrio, Nick Offerman, Anthony Ramos, Sebastian Stan, Clancy Brown, Olivia Thirlby, Dane De Haan, Kate Burton

Director: Craig Gillespie

Despite the fact that I couldn't follow as much of this (true) David vs Goliath story as I would have liked, it's still a pretty enjoyable feelgood film. However, when one character complains that 'I don't have the full context as to what's going on', I could only sympathise.

The backdrop's the New York Stock Exchange, and amateur market studier Keith Gill (the moon-faced Dano, perfect for the role) dons a cat mask and offers left-field online advice to anyone who'll listen. Right now (it's 2015), he's flogging interest in GameStop, a mail videogame store, because, as he repeats thro' the movie, 'I just like the stock'.

A few blue-collar gamblers take his enthusiastic advice and put their paltry savings into the store's stock and one day, to the surprise of Keith and his wife (Woodley) as much as anyone else, the shares begin to rise. Almost before they know it, the impulse gamble has snowballed, sending such big cats as Plotkin (Rogen) to the wall, Suddenly, Plotkin needs a bailout of billions to keep afloat.

Gill and his investors soon find themselves up by millions of dollars, until the big conglomerate traders execute a 'short squeeze', as well as shutting down the 'buy' option on small-time savers' mobiles. How is this possible? Well, perhaps only in America.

This, however, is not the end of the story, and Keith finds his fate could well depend on the result of a Congressional inquiry.

The story carries its own surge of adrenalin, and Dano is first-rate throughout. Purists and puritans might like to know that the curse count is the highest yet recorded in a 2023 movie - not that that spoils the entertainment value here.

David Quinlan

USA 2023. UK Distributor: BlackBear Pictures. Colour by Company 3.
103 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 17 Sep 2023