Marc Meyers’ Human Capital boasts excellent acting, including a sublime performance from Liev Schreiber as a broken, humiliated, and proud man. I disliked Maya Hawke’s character originally, but eventually, seeing her perspective, I empathized with her.
Alex Wolff is a tremendous young talent. He was wonderful in My Friend Dahmer (also directed by Meyers). His performance is strong, but I hated his character’s paint-by-numbers bad boy, which felt lazily written.
Marisa Tomei unsurprisingly kills it, but her character’s arc felt pointless and went nowhere. Peter Sarsgaard was delightfully slimy, and I loved what he did with the role.
Still, this is an ugly, mean-spirited story. This can still make for great movies, but because every character is out for themselves, it’s difficult to find anyone to latch onto. I’m reminded of 2004’s Crash. Each character is so despicable, it’s impossible to find an emotional anchor-point.
Non-linear storytelling is difficult to execute, and that’s an issue with the film. The story is presented from each character’s perspective over the course of the narrative, one after another. I’d get invested in one story, only to re-invest in another, over and over. It feels more like a number of short films based around the same topic rather than a cohesive narrative.
There’s a solid film in here somewhere, but I’m not sure what would be needed to coax it out.
Human Capital isn’t a terrible movie. But with the cast, the performances, and a strong basic premise, it could have been considerably better.