Money Monster (2016)


Like a ridiculous and amped up terrorist news story, this finance based thriller is a thoroughly entertaining watch. It’s true to say it’s not exactly overly tense all the time but thanks to a great trio of acting and a strained search for truth this is a movie that’s a solid watch.

Annoying money expert Lee Gates (George Clooney) is stopped in the middle of his live Money Monster recording by gun wielding Kyle (Jack O’Connell) who wants answers about the crash of IBIS, because he lost $60’000 due Gates’ endorsement of their ‘safe’ company. Strapped into a bomb vest, Lee is directed by Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) as they all try and reach the IBIS CEO for answers.

The first two acts of this film are a gripping watch, maybe gripping isn’t the right word but you feel drawn into the world of the movie. The cartoonish set up of Lee Gates and his programme are a well timed poke at the nature of money, rich people and banks. It’s an environment we get used to, the studio is shown in nice detail meaning we feel accustomed to the layout. So when the police begin entering this tacky space of graphics there is a thrill in seeing the scenery shift into a cop controlled set.

Jodie Foster directs her fourth feature in a very energetic way. The opening itself filled with many cuts, news footage and overlaying music looks and sounds like a blast of Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. That pumping yet honed in look at the bad side of humanity is a thread that runs along the entire film in a pacy manner. That’s what Foster does really well this film, she keeps the pace at a snappy level, so even if the third act drifts into a more nonsense attempt at uncovering serious truths, what we’ve seen before more than makes up for that.

One of the best scenes in this film is when you think the obvious may happen and it doesn’t. The narrative introduces Kyle’s girlfriend Molly and with a strong gust of rage we see how changes affect what Kyle has done. It makes him more human and begins our transition into feeling for the guy. It may be her only scene but Emily Meade gives Molly full gusto and worms into Kyle’s thought process leading to his distraction. Generally this movie carries out the tension it has in a neat way, it’s not over the top and it’s mixed with a gentle amount of comedy.

The shock reaction Vine is one example of the amusing laughs this film offers us as well as the running prod at producer Ron Sprecher trialling items and running around. The comedy is put in in a careful way, I felt that it never obstructed the main issue of the plot and also enhanced the power of the ending, we have a few laughs but then see the seriousness of what has happened. It’s a shame that the ending section tried putting in some jokes and just how stupid it was seeing people flock to catch a glimpse of a bomb vested man walk the streets of New York. I know it’s a film but the way everyone liked seeing this story unfold was a touch exaggerated. Also the cameraman story and whole way of getting hackers involved felt forced and weak.

George Clooney brings a great dose of smarmy celebrity to the film, he plays the arrogance of a star well but tones it down to the dishevelled lonely side when the story needs him to, as he finally realises he must seek the truth of corruption. Julia Roberts is very assured and acts controlled even when facing this unexpected threat. It’s a confident performance as she manages Kyle and Lee, actually directing a terrorist stand off which is interesting to see. Jack O’Connell is blistering in this, a force of anger and hurt chewing up the film with grit, yet still acting in a way that we keep on side with him and understand his plan.

It may not be an overly strong film but it’s an enjoyable excursion that focuses on a timely worry of the financial climate. There’s a muddled third act but Jodie Foster gives this movie a punchy turn.



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