‘Human Capital’ review: Even in movies, hedge funds are still boring

‘Human Capital’ review: Even in movies, hedge funds are still boring

If you find hedge funds hard to wrap your head around, the movie “Human Capital” won’t do much to ease the confusion.

“Nobody can explain what we do,”says the lawyer (Aasif Mandvi) for Quint Manning, a multimillionaire hedge-fund manager. Adds Quint (Peter Sarsgaard): “We move invisible money through invisible markets at invisible speeds.” Great, thanks.

The sleazy pair are speaking to Drew, a middle-class real-estate broker and the father of Quint’s son’s girlfriend Shannon. Their not-as-rich family serves as the opposition in this latest addition to the class-warfare canon.

The murky main plot involves Drew (Liev Schreiber) applying for a $300,000 loan to invest in Quint’s hedge fund. But he gets screwed when his banker discovers he fudged the numbers on his form, and is then forced to beg Quint to return the investment to avoid jail time. If you can’t tell, the economics-class aspects of this film are a slog.

A few characters, however, rise above the story. Marisa Tomei basically auditions for “Big Little Lies” as Carrie, Quint’s wife, who coolly sleeps around on him, obsesses over artistic endeavors and wants her hubby to pay for all of it. Also more relatable are the kids — Shannon (Maya Hawke) and Quint’s son Jamie (Fred Hechinger) — caught in the middle of this shadows-and-spreadsheets drama.

The better storyline is about the hit-and-run death of a waiter, possibly caused by Shannon and Jamie, which we partly witness early in the film. The manner in which that tragedy erupts and gets resolved is pretty satisfying, and drives home the film’s point, but doesn’t get much airtime till the last half-hour.

The core two men, however, are a drag for the entire movie. Schreiber’s meat-and-potatoes character is bland, but the actor can at least lean on his own likable persona. It’s Sarsgaard, though — in tandem with rotten dialogue — that really drops the ball. You see, although you read nasty things about what hedge-fund types do, at home they’re not the Green Goblin.

But with Saarsgard’s one-note, villainous portrayal, Quint might as well throw up his hands and yell “Mwahahahahah!”

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