With Money Monster being pitted as a tense thriller it’ certain that audiences are being duped into watching something it really isn’t. It’s a far cry for any intensity and the thrills are few and far between in a story which is somewhat predictable.
Jodie Foster returns to the director’s chair with her fourth feature film in Money Monster with George Clooney taking not only a starring role but the producer’s hat too. It’s reported that filming was not to start on Money Monster until Clooney had finished shooting the Coen Brothers picture Hail! Caeser. To be honest his role as Lee Gates in Money Monster and that of Baird Whitlock in Hail! Caeser has a number of similarities personality wise.
Lee Gates (Clooney) is a TV personality with his own show on the financial market, giving the general public the lowdown on stocks, shares, and investments. He even opens his shows with a little dance number for zany entertainment measure, if Gates says you should invest you do. That is of course until one company’s stock mysteriously crashes losing $800m, many people are affected with this bad tip off including Kyle Budwell played by a very angry Jack O’Connell.
Budwell manages to walk right past security at the TV station and gain access to the studio in which Gates show is going out live. Budwell proceeds to take Gates hostage and straps a suicide bomb vest onto Gates; his demands are purely an apology to himself and all those like him who have lost everything because of his poor financial advice. As the story unfolds, Gates and his Producer Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) involve themselves with some investigative journalism themselves to find out what really happened to the missing money as they learn a few secrets about their hostage taking which see them change to take to fight for the little people.
Even with a completely outrageous plot Money Monster has one standout performance in the form of O’Connell, he shows brilliance as a man who has hit rock bottom with nothing left to lose. Roberts gives a pretty strong performance and Clooney yet again seems to be his one-dimensional self.
Whilst the story unfolds in real time it’s all a little predictable but unlike our other financial based film The Big Short this year, it’s less taxing on the brain with understandable financial jargon – almost having a touch of dumbing down in order to appeal to the audiences it wants to attract. Its underlying message would seem to be that no financial institution takes a loss that bad from a failed algorithm, it has to come from human error or in this case corruption.
Money Monster is out in UK Cinema May 27th.