‘Dumb Money’ recounts moment GameStop stock craze took down Wall Street fat cats

Finally, the Australian filmmaker aimed to seize “an actual second in time that’s nonetheless occurring.”

As he was watching the GameStop inventory frenzy unfold in 2021, director Craig Gillespie didn’t instantly suppose it had the makings of a characteristic movie.

However the story of Keith Gill, the protagonist in Dumb Cash, was a David and Goliath fable tailored for the massive display screen. Gill (performed within the movie by Paul Dano) bucked Wall Road by enthusiastically endorsing the online game retailer’s inventory, a lot to the chagrin of the hedge fund titans that had shorted the bricks-and-mortar firm.

Buying and selling out of his Massachusetts basement and constructing a cult following on Reddit message boards, Gill, often known as Roaring Kitty, grew to become a family title on-line as he gleefully grew to become the face of small fry buyers who took on the tremendous wealthy One Percenters.

Gillespie, 56, adopted the saga by watching his then-24-year-old son, who had been concerned with the subreddit Wall Road Bets, eagerly devour Gill’s newest tidbits on the inventory.

As Wall Road corporations wager GameStop’s inventory worth was headed for a fall, Gill, clad in cat-themed T-shirts and swilling from bottles of beer, satisfied novice buyers to get behind the corporate and increase its valuation.

“It’s loopy that I wasn’t considering of this as a film, but it surely was an intense expertise,” Gillespie mentioned in an interview on the Toronto Worldwide Movie Pageant earlier this month, the place Dumb Cash, which recounts the riveting saga, had its world premiere. “The emotion and drama that was occurring in watching my son test the inventory each three minutes was only a wild journey … It was form of just like the dinner scene within the film the place Keith’s household is studying how a lot cash he’s received invested and so they’re asking him when he’s going to get out,” Gillespie mentioned, chuckling. “Lastly, I received in, however I jumped in on the improper time and misplaced. I realized the exhausting method.”

However when he received a maintain of the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction screenplay from Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo, Gillespie, who directed the Tonya Harding black comedy I, Tonya, shortly mentioned sure.

In Dumb Cash, Gill leads a group of odd buyers — together with a single mom and nurse (America Ferrera), two faculty youngsters mired in student-loan money owed (Talia Ryder and Myha’la Herrold) and a lowly GameStop worker (Anthony Ramos) — as they stick it to real-life Wall Road elites: Gabe Plotkin of Melvin Capital Administration (Seth Rogen); New York Mets proprietor Steve Cohen (Vincent D’Onofrio); and Ken Griffin of Citadel LLC (Nick Offerman).

Nick Offerman and Seth Rogen
Nick Offerman and Seth Rogen in “Dumb Cash.”Picture by Lacey Terrell /Elevation Photos

Gill’s household — made up of his spouse (Shailene Woodley); his slacker brother (Pete Davidson); his mom and father (Kate Burton and Clancy Brown) — look on incredulously as he pushes his life financial savings into GameStop, telling on-line followers: “I just like the inventory.”

Each writers on the movie labored on the Wall Road Journal as investigative reporters, so the filmmaking group goes to nice lengths to focus on the veracity of the story. Songs of that second (Cardi B’s WAP and Megan Thee Stallion’s Savage) act because the movie’s de facto theme songs, whereas actual clips, together with one in all Anthony Scaramucci referring to the GameStop drama as “the French Revolution of finance,” are threaded all through. The one moments which can be performed for dramatic impact are when Gillespie needed to think about what the monetary toll may need been like on the characters’ private lives.

“When Keith Gill loses $30 million in 48 hours or when he’s going to be subpoenaed by U.S. congress, Paul and I might attempt to work out, ‘What’s he speaking about along with his spouse within the kitchen?’ We’d take these actual moments that occurred and form of attempt to dramatize them,” Gillespie mentioned.

Finally, the Australian filmmaker aimed to seize “an actual second in time that’s nonetheless occurring.”

“There was an actual feeling of disparity within the wealth you’d see flaunted on-line and social media,” Gillespie mentioned. The GameStop saga, he provides, “grew to become a mouthpiece to point out that discontent and to carry Wall Road accountable and hit them the place it hurts — with their wallets.”

Craig Gillespie
Filmmaker Craig GillespiePicture by Philip Cheung /The Washington Publish

The actual-life Gill stopped posting his inventory ideas on-line in April 2021, so it’s unknown how a lot he walked away with. The worth of GameStop inventory rocketed from underneath $20 a share to greater than $500 over the course of some months.

Nonetheless, the story depicted in Dumb Cash is a uncommon occasion when Wall Road’s energy gamers didn’t get the final giggle. It was a second, Gillespie mentioned, that ignited a debate that continues to this present day a couple of “system that feels rigged towards the little man.”

“I wished to seize that on the display screen, however actually I need to proceed this dialog. When all of this was occurring, I used to be struck by the outrage and the frustration at a system that feels inherently rigged and marginalizes the little man. To have the ability to activate that dialog once more … to point out that you would be able to make a distinction. If you come collectively as a group, you may be heard.”

Dumb Cash is now enjoying in choose theatres