DIAMOND HANDS: THE LEGEND OF WALLSTREETBETS -- An Entertaining but Superficial Doc About the Famous Short Squeeze
Review by Camden Ferrell
The last few years have been eventful to say the least for Wall Street. One such eventful occurrence was what occurred with the company GameStop that made global news and shocked Wall Street. Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets is a new documentary about this very event, and it had its premiere earlier this year at the SXSW Film Festival. This documentary is mostly entertaining even if it does succumb to its inherent internet cringe humor at times.
In January of 2021, a short squeeze of GameStop’s stock among others occurred. Without getting into the particulars, this event had significant financial consequences for Wall Street, specifically for hedge funds that were short selling these stocks. The strangest part about this is the short squeeze was organized by a group of people on r/WallStreetBets on Reddit. This is an event that everyone heard about in one way or another when it happened, and it’s a really interesting story that could make for a really entertaining movie.
While many people are familiar with the specifics of this event, the movie does a great job of trying to explain the nuances of the markets in this movie. They don’t spoon feed you information to the point of boredom, but it ensures that audiences with all levels of familiarity with the jargon will be able to follow. Much like the movie The Big Short, this documentary understands that making the movie accessible to as many people as possible is paramount to success.
The movie includes many people who participated in the short squeeze, and they’re decent for the most part. They’re not boring individuals, and their insight into their decisions and history with WallStreetBets is enjoyable, but there’s also a lot of inside jokes that doesn’t translate particularly well when described. Being part of that community and the short squeeze, the humor works within that community, but it becomes quite cringe outside of that context, and this ultimately undermines the film.
Another thing the movie seems to lack is the deeper sentiment of those on WallStreetBets. It touches briefly on the subtle pent up generational rage that motivated some people in this middle finger to hedge funds, but it feels underdeveloped. In my experience with the community, there was a lot of ire that culminated in the short squeeze that the movie fails to capture in a profound way. This was a big part of the short squeeze, and the movie rarely goes beyond explaining it at a superficial level.
Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets is entertaining and adequately explains the financial concepts and context behind the short squeeze of GameStop and its consequences. It is accessible for a wide variety of audiences, and it may be quite educational for those unfamiliar with the events. However, some might be let down by how it doesn’t dive deep into the sentiments and motivations of the WallStreetBets community as a whole.
Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets will premiere on MSNBC May 15 and will be streaming on Peacock May 16.