Movie ExplainersNews

The Hummingbird Project Ending, Explained

October 21, 2020
6 min read

‘The Hummingbird Project’ is a Canadian-Belgian drama thriller film that combines finance and tech for an extravagant undertaking. At its core, it is the story of exactly how far people are willing to go to achieve their dreams. However, the narrative itself is quite unique. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård, Salma Hayek, and Michael Mando in leading roles, the movie has been written and directed by Kim Nguyen. So, if you wish to understand the ending of the film, then you’re at the right place. SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Hummingbird Project Plot Synopsis 

Vincent and Anton Zaleski are cousins who work under Eva Torres on Wall Street. But after Vincent is able to secure funding from Bryan Taylor for a project that facilitates quicker data transmission timings, he convinces Anton to leave the firm and join forces with him. After all, the plan is to construct a tunnel that consists of a 4-inch fiber optic cable from the Kansas Electronic Exchange to the servers of the New York Stock Exchange in New Jersey.

If they’re able to bring down the time by just one millisecond, they can beat the market and reap huge profits. While Vincent focuses on the business aspect, Anton is the coder responsible for bringing the time down to 16 milliseconds. Along with their contractor, Mark Vega, the cousins embark on this journey to make their dreams come true.

The Hummingbird Project Ending 

Just as things seem bleak, Anton is able to finally figure out how to decrease the time by 1 millisecond. But Eva won’t let them get ahead of the game so easily, and so she presses charges against Anton. The genius coder is arrested by the FBI for stock market fraud. He then calls Vincent from jail to inform him about what just happened. While working on the tough terrain, the construction team comes across a message pointing towards a tower. 

This is Eva’s way of letting Vincent know that her team has managed to get the upper hand. After all, she has found a university student who helps the firm construct these microwave towers that work as fast as 11 milliseconds. Naturally, this agitates Vincent, who starts heading towards the tower with a chainsaw while repeatedly saying that he’s going to cut it down. A verbal altercation between Mark and Vincent takes place, following which, the latter passes out.

Vincent wakes up in the ambulance and asks for his phone. Before he is admitted to the hospital, he buys insurance for his project, knowing full well that he has failed. He also asks Mark to get Anton out of jail, but the other Zaleski cousin still has one last trick up his sleeve. He knows about the bug in Eva’s system and uses it to slow down her network to 20 milliseconds. She then visits Anton in jail, who is able to secure his freedom after she agrees to drop the charges in exchange for the solution.

Bryan visits Vincent in the hospital and says that he may just end up losing his company because he trusted the latter. Following this, the cancer patient is back at home. Mark has finally completed the project, and over a video call, he shows Vincent that they were actually able to do better than their original goal. The speed, now, is 15.73 milliseconds. But this holds significance mostly for Vincent. It has no real-life application anymore, as Eva has already cornered the market.

During a conversation with Anton, Vincent says that the insurance has refused to pay them. But the former has an idea that uses neutrino messaging to bring down the time to 9 milliseconds. It is a more sturdy technology as well since it can penetrate through various terrains and objects. They seemingly joke about being able to buy all of Wall Street and then burn it down.

In the end, they go to the Amish farm to apologize to the village leader. It starts raining, and Vincent helps the other people put the sacks into the barn. He tells the Amish leader that they have removed the pipe from under the community’s land. While waiting for the rain to subside, the cousins take shelter in the barn. Vincent ponders over how he would process the existence of 16 milliseconds, and Anton replies by saying that Vincent’s life would still feel as long as that of a man who has lived for 100 years.

How Feasible is The Neutrino Messaging Technology?

For a game where every millisecond counts, Anton definitely comes up with a great idea. If they use neutrino messaging for their purposes, the transmission speed becomes as fast as 9 milliseconds! On paper, it definitely sounds grand – these tiny particles can pierce through all sorts of landscapes and overcome most issues that traditional communication methods face. Given how competitive everyone in the financial industry (in the movie) is, how has someone else not implemented this idea already?

We think we can solve this mystery. Back in 2012, a group of researchers at the University of Rochester and North Carolina State University collaborated to transmit a message using neutrinos. In fact, the very information they sent was the word “neutrino.” This experiment holds some significance for us. Firstly, it proved that this technology could be viable in the future as and when scientific advancements happen. Moreover, it showed us that we still have a long way to go before we can impart huge amounts of data using this method.

Dan Stancil, the electrical engineer who also headed the study, opened up about the possibilities of the technology. He said, “In principle, you could have straight-line communication right through the center of the Earth, without satellites or cables. I can imagine there could be certain strategic situations where that could be very valuable.” Clearly, Anton’s idea is not viable presently. But we would still argue that he is a visionary in his field.

The Irony of The Title

‘The Hummingbird Project’ is an appropriate title for the movie when you consider the subtle yet decipherable statements it makes on human greed. We learn that it only takes 16 milliseconds for a Hummingbird to flap its wings once! Plus, it can also fly backward. This small fraction of time essentially does wonders for this particular species. Au contraire, 16 milliseconds is the speed that the Zaleski brothers need in order to make their venture successful.

To accomplish this goal, Vincent stops at nothing. He even finds a way to penetrate through the protected Appalachian trial just so that the tunnel can be built. If Vincent’s wings can “flap” as fast as the Hummingbird’s, he has the potential to earn millions of dollars. But as the movie progresses, we learn that he has lost his career, credibility, and health in pursuit of a dream motivated simply by dollar signs. Although he tries to be as maneuverable as the bird, this is clearly not his forte.

Read More: Is The Hummingbird Project a True Story?