VIFF only started last week, and nothing better starts it off than a memorable film for the Opening Gala. This year’s opening film covered a rather interesting subject that’s seldom explored (as far as I know): the stock markets. Everyone knows about the stock markets, they’re one of the most highly discussed problems in the world today. I’ve recently seen the stock markets as a rigged game. One day it’s gonna crash. It’s not if, it’s when. I’ve already gotten rid of all my stocks after having heard that. But that’s another story.
The story of this film focuses on two men highly involved in the stock market as traders, Anton (Alexander Skarsgard) and his nephew Vincent (Jesse Eisenberg). The project they have in mind is to set up a fiber-optic cable trail from Kansas to New Jersey. Confident that this will work, Vincent forces Anton to quit his real stock market job and join him on the journey as they travel across the land with their associate Mark (Michael Mando) who brings construction crews and other helpers to dig holes in the ground to help get the different points of the trail set. But it’s not easy for anybody. Anton works on the speed of the system to make it faster, cooping himself up in his hotel room and going mental in the process. Vincent on the other hand gets diagnosed with stomach cancer and despite the doctor’s requests, he intends to stay with his crew instead of fully following along with the procedures. But even the crew have problems themselves, ranging with equipment not working, pay not being enough, land being hard to dig, and certain landowners (the Amish specifically) not wanting anything to speed up their modern land. But the really big problem is their former boss Eva Torres (Salma Hayek) following them around, with the intention of messing up them and their plans.
I have to applaud Kim Nguyen for coming up with such an amazing concept. Most people would probably find anything involving stock markets to be boring or simply luck of the draw, but this is a film that makes them seem kind of edgy and exciting. It’s a film that shows not everything can go as planned if you don’t think ahead of some of the more difficult hurdles, and it also shows that not everything can end on a positive note. Not all powerful films do end on a positive note to be fair though, but this is one of those few films that really steps up its game showing consequences better. It starts out funny at times, only for it to turn dark much later. Scenery for the most part consisted of hotels and forests, but those looked really well laid out with quite some picturesque views. The characters are very interesting and well-portrayed, really making people laugh at Anton’s antics to keep speed up in more ways than one, to feeling the pain of Vincent’s ever-increasing stomach cancer. It’s all about surprises in the film and that’s what the stocks are all about, one moment they’re doing great, next they’re dropping. It’s a film that really catches you and gives you a lot to think about and enjoy.