The documentary “Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets” starts with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, as new traders began to use their stimulus checks to try the stock market. The most bullish traders gathered on the subreddit WallStreetBets, where get-rich-quick dreamers share tips for undervalued stocks. At the end of 2020, GameStop was among their juiciest prospects.
The amateur investors who made the first GameStop recommendations are an eclectic and irreverent bunch, from a grocery store worker to a day trader who wears a metal helmet to protect his identity. As this group of outsiders saw it, GameStop had been targeted by hedge funds for short investments, essentially making it a stock that earned established investors money if the business went bankrupt. But if the stock rose, those who bought in could benefit from the bubble while generating huge losses for hedge fund managers.
It was the dream meme stock, and the film’s subjects recall using the trading app Robinhood to execute their plan to rob the rich and give to themselves. Some made millions. Others failed to cash out, and experienced the consequences of speculation.
The filmmakers Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper primarily build the story through their interviews, but they are savvy to match the film’s style to the hyper-online vernacular of their gain-obsessed subjects. Interviews are intercut with the memes that these cheery forum trolls shared when they believed they were in for a fortune. It’s a zippy, entertaining approach that offers a surprising degree of insight into the psychology that produced the GameStop phenomenon. Investors played with serious money, but their mind-set was a farcical dive into hyperspace — a week of gambling in a cyber-Vegas that, for some, was worth the hangover.
Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 29 minutes. Watch on Peacock.