The cutthroat world of high-end finance and securities training is the setting for The Hummingbird Project. Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgård as investor brothers who are angling for any advantage over their competitors. Like everyone else in the industry they know that with automated electronic trading the dominant tactic, shaving fractions of a second off the receipt of information to make those trades can mean a difference of millions of dollars, if not more.
So they set out to create a high-speed fiber connection between a major junction in the Pacific Ocean and their East Coast operations that’s straighter and therefore more fast, by a couple hundreths of a second. Their project gets the attention of their rival, played by Salma Hayek, who sets out to quash their efforts and stop them from gaining an advantage.
The three main characters are shown on the one-sheet standing on the single element still connecting two frayed ends of a split wire, showing the tenuous nature of the ground they’re operating on. “Everything is on the line” is the copy that conveys the story’s stakes.
Vincent and Anton want to demolish everything in the way of them creating a straighter, faster connection to financial information in the first trailer. That connection will allow them to get data a millisecond faster than competitors, which has implications adding up to millions of dollars a year. They set out to grab the land rights for that connection but face competition from Torres, who wants that money for herself. It’s a fun, tight trailer that sells a story of boundless ambition that’s occasionally derailed by physical or legal realities.
Online and Social
There’s really only the usual content on the movie’s official website, offering visitors the trailer, a synopsis and so on. A minimal effort on display here along with links to profiles on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing here that I’ve seen.
Media and Publicity
A screening at the Toronto Film Festival generated good reviews, with the movie being picked up by The Orchard.
Eisenberg made appearances on late night and morning talk shows to bring some attention to the film. He was also profiled in pieces like this but those interviews often mentioned several other projects the actor has in the works as well. Skarsgård, meanwhile, was promoting another movie he has coming out this week. There was also a substantial profile of Hayek where she talked about this movie and various other topics.
The studio raised some eyebrows among critics when they sent out real chainsaws as promotional items, relevant since the movie is about how the brothers are willing to cut down trees to build their information pipeline. While contextually appropriate, that’s also a substantial item to send to people and one that’s not going to be immediately useful to a lot of people.
I feel there might be a pretty decent movie and interesting story hiding behind a campaign that could use a little more juice. While the trailer and poster are interesting, the whole push is a little dry, lacking a solid hook for the audience. It’s almost as if there’s a bit too much story that’s being included in the marketing to distill the message down to a single, compelling idea for the audience to latch on to.