The Hummingbird Project is The Social Network Uber-Lite.
Just because you want to scale the heights of Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher doesn’t mean you can, even if you do have Jesse Eisenberg — and his buddy-dramedy bromance chemistry with Alexander Skarsgård (who’s having a bit of a month) — in tow. The Social Network‘s seamlessly-balanced intermingling of a rip-roaring plot, social commentary, and character insights — and how each feeds off the others in an endless excavation of meaning — requires a level of cinematically-stylish and intellectually-substantive execution not matched by The Hummingbird Project.
And yet, the latter can be interpreted as 10-year bookend to the former, and their juxtaposition reveals how much has changed for fast-talking Daniels and their approach to conquering the Goliath tech world.
In The Social Network, our renegades came from outside the pre-existing systems of power, and they attempted to shock — sorry; to borrow their preferred parlance: disrupt — the machine by totally reshaping its structures in their own image. A decade later, it’s all too clear that Facebook (and the rest of its ilk, whom Zuckerberg’s arc in The Social Network can be understood to represent) simply replaced the rulers instead of changing the rules.
That’s why The Hummingbird Project’s band of rebels start within the system; they want to topple it only to put themselves at the top of it. Whereas Zuckerberg forged his own path by teaming with new money to get the job done, in The Hummingbird Project, new money and old money are interchangeable — because what matters is that big money controls everything; it backs our protagonists in the same way it backs the established, establishment villains. The founding of Silicon Valley was seen initially as the dawning of a new world order; instead, the powers-that-became the powers-that-be dethroned the old order merely to put on its borrowed crowns. Those who fought the man are now the man. They’re Goliaths in Daniel’s clothing.
Can anyone fight this cycle from within, or can we escape only by existing completely outside of it? But if even the Amish (who play a prominent role herein, at least thematically) to the digital age can’t completely counter its ruthless capitalism, are we stuck in this paradigm? Can rejection breed sufficient resistance if we’re inherently defined in relation to what we’re opposing?
Stray Key: And now, a guide to one of Write All Nite’s go-to qualitative-formulations, listed from yayest to nayest: Lite, Uber-Lite, Ultra-Lite, Litest.
So The Hummingbird Project being only two (borderline three) Lite-years removed from The Social Network still constitutes as a recommendation, albeit a passing one.