- The hotly contested subject of high-frequency trading is getting the box office treatment with a new movie called “The Hummingbird Project,” which set to hit theatres in March.
- The first theatrical trailer for the film was released on Thursday, and it looks like it will be a wild ride.
Rarely is the uber-geeky term ‘high frequency trading’ put in the same sentence as ‘thriller,’ but writer and director Kim Nguyen is giving it a shot with a new movie called “The Hummingbird Project.”
The movie “exposes the ruthless edge of our increasingly digital world,” which is a vague description of how stock traders have become so desperate for any advantage that they’re constantly trying to speed up trades before the market can catch up. In markets, this is called “front running.”
The opening scene of “The Hummingbird Project” trailer – which is strikingly similar to the opening pages of Michael Lewis’s 2014 book about the same topic, called “Flash Boys” – shows cousins from New York, Vincent (Jesse Eisenberg) and Anton (Alexander Skarsgård) discussing the logistics needed to build a straight fibre-optic cable line between Kansas and New Jersey.
The straighter the line, the better the computer can shave fractions of a millisecond off of a trade. In a market where algorithms dominate, executing trades in the blink of an eye matters. A lot.
“Anton is the brains, Vincent is the hustler,” the movie’s website says. “Constantly breathing down their necks is their old boss Eva Torres (Salma Hayek), a powerful, intoxicating, and manipulative trader who will stop at nothing to come between them and beat them at their own game.”
Studios have likely taken notice of the recent successes of Wall Street movies, notably “The Big Short,” which was also based on a book of the same name by Lewis, and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
However, in “Flash Boys,” the protagonists are a group of Wall Street guys, led by real life trader-turned-CEO Brad Katsuyama, who try to change the loopholes that allow speed traders to get an edge, and expose what they saw as a rigged system. Netflix is reportedly releasing a movie version of ‘Flash Boys.’
The movie hits select theatres on March 15.
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