A tragicomedy based on real events, “Dumb Money” depicts how ordinary internet users, if not outright bending, significantly shook up Wall Street. While this story may not be well-known in some parts, it sparked a significant scandal in the United States.
Here’s the gist: In 2020, major hedge funds began shorting the struggling video game store chain GameStop. This might have gone unnoticed if it weren’t for the blogger Keith Gill, known for his investment streams under the alias “Roaring Kitty,” who invested his own $56,000 into the company. Believing that GameStop’s stocks were undervalued, he encouraged fellow amateur investors from the WallStreetBets Reddit community to buy en masse. This movement quickly went viral, causing GameStop’s stock price to skyrocket within weeks, causing those who bet against the company to lose billions. When hedge funds realized they were in trouble, they began playing dirty: restricting access to trading apps, manipulating the media to discourage stock buyers, and other underhanded tactics. The public, outraged by such blatant manipulation, retaliated by buying stocks with even greater force. The conflict even drew the attention of politicians, ultimately escalating to the level of the US Congress.
The movie resembles “The Big Short,” albeit simpler and without Margot Robbie in a bathtub explaining complex financial terms to the audience. For some, this might be an issue. Personally, I might invest in stocks, but only in something like shares of a local supermarket, so terms like “shorting” make sense to me, but “options,” “margin calls,” and “short squeezes” are completely foreign concepts. If you’re also in the dark about these terms, here’s an excellent article on Habr that explains what happened with GameStop’s stocks and how everything works in the securities market.
But in reality, the movie can be enjoyed just for what it is. It’s very light, humorous, and features great actors: besides my favorite Paul Dano, it also stars Shailene Woodley, Sebastian Stan, Pete Davidson, and other pleasant individuals. And it’s not really about financial schemes; it’s about how ordinary people united and managed to outsmart the greedy Wall Street bourgeoisie. Plus, they made money doing it. While telling this inspiring story, the director pays attention to detail. The head of the SAC hedge fund did indeed have a large pig as a pet in his mansion. The owners of Robinhood really did drive matching Teslas. And Roaring Kitty’s brother actually ran naked for a mile and a half during a strong thunderstorm, as part of a bet.