Today: July 20, 2024

Money Monster

It is a crying shame that Money Monster didn’t do better box office business or garner better critical reception. Because it does a lot of things that Hollywood should be doing right now. It tells an original story, engages in a host of zeitgeist topics and has a female director. In an era when Hollywood has seemingly run out of original ideas and continues to turn to the same of stable of filmmakers those things should be celebrated. But you’re not here for that, you’re here to find out if a film starring dishing George Clooney, always loveable Julia Roberts and the ‘wasn’t he supposed to be a big deal a year ago’ Jack O’Connell worthy of your time and money? In short, yes. Here’s the why.

Money Monster is a TV show hosted by larger than life financial guru Lee Gates (Clooney). Think Jeremy Paxman with his eyeballs injected with neon lights and ingesting enough caffeine to make you levitate and you’re close to Clooney’s Gates. His producer Patty (Julia Roberts) is about to leave him after years of loyal service in search of real journalism. And then, what do you know, a piece of real journalism walks into the live show with a gun and a bomb to strap to Gates.

Said piece of journalism is Kyle (O’Connell) a young man whose world has imploded because he put all his money into a ‘sure thing’ as advised by Gates. Said ‘sure thing’ is IBIS, a company who have just lost $800 million by an accidental computer glitch. So Kyle is on Money Monster to get some answers. But what he, and more importantly Gates, soon realise is the system is rigged. That when rich guys take your money and flush it they lose nothing, if anything they make money. Kind of like that time when the banks faulted on their loans, evicted people then allowed those same taxing paying people to bail them out with tax money. And none of those people responsible were ever held accountable, or had their pay deducted, or lost their jobs.

In essence Money Monster is Dog Day Afternoon meets Broadcast News. A story of a hostage situation played out in front of the media within in an organisation who have lost their way in telling a good yarn. Director Jodie Foster keeps Money Monster ticking along brilliantly. The tension bubbles along with jokes perfectly timed to alleviate things when they’re getting a little too serious.

Said humour is an integral part of the heart of the film. Because it allows Clooney and O’Connell to develop a rapport. Something that comes naturally to Clooney and Roberts after their on screen tension and charm from all those years in the Ocean’s Eleven films. Clooney is clearly enjoying playing the cad in the first half and the crusader in the second. O’Connell continues to demonstrate that while he might not be a bonafide star or household name yet he really should be. Kyle is never just a desperate man, he’s a man on the edge with a heartbreaking naivety. Roberts meanwhile balances wonderfully beyond despair of Gates’ habits and a determination to get the story. It’s often her calming influence, in the face of all this adversity, that grounds the film amid the chaos.

Towards the climax the film does begin to unravel, in no small part because it reveals certain secrets before it arguably should, therefore dissolving some of the well earned tension. Money Monster doesn’t always hit the jackpot but it tells a gripping little yarn combining appealing characters with enough thrills and laughs to keep you invested.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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