Director: Jodie Foster
When I first saw the trailer for Money Monster I wasn’t sure quite what the idea was. It looked absurd but then I noted Jodie Foster was directing so there had to be something going on here worth looking at especially given the films two lead roles; Clooney & Roberts.
Set in New York city, Clooney plays Lee Gates, a larger than life television show host that focused on the stock markets and Wall Street stories, he’d give tips on what to buy and what to sell whilst picking up a more than acceptable pay cheque himself. Although a very intelligent man it was fair to say that he was somewhat detached from the realities of the everyday lives of people who might act upon his advice. Julia Roberts, as Patty, directs Gates through his shows. She has worked with Lee for a number of years and is probably the closest thing he has to a real friend.
Having just gone live on air the show is plunged into chaos as delivery man Kyle Budwell (O’Connell) invades the set with a gun. He rigs Gates up with a suicide bomb vest but rather than demanding the money he lost on a recent recommendation Gates had made some weeks earlier Kyle wants answers as to how the company, IBIS, could just lose over $800. He refused to accept that it was an “algorithm glitch” as IBIS were claiming. Conveniently the CEO of IBIS, Walt Camby (West) is on board one of his private jets unavailable to discuss the matter.
It’s hard to see how you can get the mileage out of this sort of scenario but Foster gets a good ninety-five minute from her set up. She brings in the characters almost one by one in quite an orderly fashion. First comes George Clooney as Gates, this was very well delivered. At first a very cocksure individual who suddenly becomes very intimidated by his unwanted guest. He seems genuinely scared but also unable to hold his tongue whilst looking down on Kyle.
Julia Roberts is one actress who usually does very little for me but she can occasionally turn one in that really does her justice. Money Monster is one of those. It’s almost like she’s Foster’s captain on the field. Foster directs Roberts and in turn she directs Clooney. Quite a clever process. She divides her attention between staying on story whilst assuring the safety of her very loyal team.
I Like Jack O’Connell. He’s just right for this sort of role. A guy genuinely trying to do a good deed but stricken with a terrible habit of getting everything completely wrong. His intentions are good but he just not quite intelligent enough to be doing what he’s doing. The way his relationship with Gates is intriguing to follow as the movie develops.
Overall the film is very, very good. It’s an interesting mix of tension and satire. There is a message there but it’s really not going to change anything despite its best intentions. Well written and directed it draws out the best from the players involved. A lot of attention has obviously been paid to the script here and that really comes through in the delivery. Any sentimentality is balanced out by a real sense of realism despite the far-fetched nature of the film.
Verdict: 4/5 Stars