Kim Nguyen directs Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård and Salma Hayek in this techno-thriller where two IT nerds try to out manoeuvre their former boss by creating a cable that will get them stock exchange information valuable milliseconds quicker.
Diverting… All the elements are here for a far better movie. It could be a decent double bill with The Social Network but isn’t in the same weight division. Sorkin and Fincher understood that the real drama wasn’t in the battles for the IP, profits or bragging rights. It was watching terrible human beings have the mirror held up to themselves in the chase for legacy and billions. Here they populate a quirky thriller that never really gets going. The lead characters are too grey and unrelatable to root for – we have seen Eisenberg do this exact role far more compellingly in previous similar films. Imagine what either side of the coin would have done with this fertile material in the Eighties. Sheen or Cruise would have made you hope the desperate little guys became heroes. Spader or Lowe would have had you rooting for the slimy disrupters. Maybe this film would have been smarter shifting the focus to Hayek’s good value flamboyant ballbreaker. Instead of making her the big bad, we could have revelled in her protecting her empire and looking fabulous over the two autistic upstarts. Whatever the solution to improve this is tonally off, frustrating as a decent hook is definitely present.