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TIFF 2023 Review: Dumb Money

Amateur investor and YouTube influencer Keith Gill goes against high profile hedge fund managers states that the GameStop stock is extremely undervalued sparking a buying spree that threatens the financial establishment.

An unlikely battle erupts as billionaire hedge fund managers like Gabe Plotkin (Seth Rogen) bet against GameStop stock while Keith Gill (Paul Dano), who operates a YouTube channel called Roaring Kitty, believes this to be a mistake and encourages his viewers to buy the stock.  The campaigning proves to be so successful that other amateur investors decide to become shareholders causing the price to rise and for Plokin to lose billions of dollars.  The incident caused the House Financial Services Committee to hold a hearing with all of the major players including Gill.

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Narratively all of the perspectives are covered from the hedge funds, amateur investors ranging from a nurse, college students and GameStop employees, and Gill.  This places everything in the proper context and effectively demonstrates the scope of what is happening.  Breaking up the intercutting are segments where social media users are commenting on what is happening which serves as a funky transition.  Aptly handling the editing for Craig Gillespie is Kirk Baxter, a frequent collaborator with David Fincher; though it does get to the point where one wonders if this is style over substance.

Once again Paul Dano proves that he can play any role thrown his way whether it be the Riddler, Steven Spielberg’s father, or a YouTube influencer.  There are a few witty lines with a fair share of them coming from Pete Davidson as Gill’s delinquent brother.  As much as the movie is an exposé in the vein of The Big Short in revealing the devious practices of financial institutions, it also demonstrates the unnerving influence of social media personalities as people will follow without question while not having a complete understanding of what they’re doing.

The 48th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 7-17, 2023, and for more information visit    

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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