Cousins Vincent (Jesse Eisenberg) and Anton (Alexander Skarsgård) have a plan so crazy it just might work: Dig a one-foot-wide, thousand-mile-long tunnel from Kansas to New Jersey, install a fiber optic cable and strip an algorithm down to its bare code. Why? Because they’ll have trading information traveling from the Kansas City Live Stock Exchange to New York in 16 milliseconds, one millisecond faster than the competition. Doesn’t sound like much, but that one millisecond—roughly one beat of a hummingbird’s wings—could give Vincent and Anton’s company the edge to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in a matter of weeks, all while trading futures on lemon farms in Africa. But what about the lemon farmers, a bartender asks after Anton explains the plan. Well, they haven’t thought through that part of the equation yet.
Set in 2011, The Hummingbird Project pairs a conniving, sniveling Eisenberg with an unrecognizable Skarsgård—sporting male pattern baldness and constantly hunched shoulders—in a high stakes scheme that is both eternally relevant and immediately obsolete. Faster, better, stronger is the mantra that drives capitalism, but at what cost, and who gets left behind? If that isn’t reason enough to see The Hummingbird Project, then a silver-haired, purple-sunglasses-sporting, high-powered Salma Hayek as Vincent and Anton’s former boss should be. Now streaming on DirecTV and Showtime Anytime.