When The Social Network released in 2010—directed by David Fincher—there were many who derided its choice to adapt such recent historical events for its dramatization of the founding of Facebook… not the least of which was Mark Zuckerberg, who famously said in an interview: “I just wish no one made a movie about me when I was alive.” How must Keith Gill feel then, seeing Dumb Money debut only two years after his leading role in the “GameStop short squeeze”, an event that rocked the investing world and changed the way the public looked at the rallying power of internet communities?
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Release Date: 09/15/2023
Director: Craig Gillespie
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Where to Watch: Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Google Play Movies, YouTube
Dumb Money is based on The Antisocial Network, penned by Ben Mezrich (who also wrote The Accidental Billionaires from which The Social Network was adapted). Unlike The Social Network—widely hailed as a masterpiece after its release—Dumb Money plays things safe by not aiming for the stars, but setting the humble goal of recounting events that occurred during a particularly tumultuous period in world history.
Despite not technically being a “COVID production”—a film shot during the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic—Dumb Money may be one of the first films to reenact events from that time, serving as a time capsule of what life and culture were like during the global pandemic, as well as the world-shaking events that sprang from a marginal internet community. Shot in a straightforward yet highly competent style emulating other financial biopics like The Big Short, the film doesn’t seek to do more than educate and entertain, faithfully capturing the spirit of 21st-century internet counter-culture.
Events are accentuated by a disjointed score that deliberately juxtaposes the unglamorous life of everyday internet users against some of the most bombastic and controversial pop music released around that time. An ensemble cast of recognizable actors like Seth Rogen, Nick Offerman, Sebastian Stan, and Vincent D’Onofrio manages to bring great performances to a story that might otherwise have been treated as a quick cash grab, elevating this film to the ranks of other historical biopics that will likely be viewed with more fondness as time goes on. Although not recommended for those who find internet culture grating, the film will no doubt appeal to investment-minded individuals, as well as millennials who grew up steeped in the World Wide Web.
About our Admit One Author
Isaac Frankel is a freelance writer and content creator specializing in reviews and analysis of cinema, interactive media, and mythological storytelling. He was raised in Prescott, AZ, wrote his first non-fiction book in 2013 after graduating from Tribeca Flashpoint College with a degree in Game & Interactive Media Design and currently produces content for the YouTube channel: Off Screen.
More of his work and current projects can be found at www.isaacafrankel.com