Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Caitriona Balfe, Dominic West, Giancarlo Esposito, Chris Bauer, Christopher Denham, Lenny Venito, Aaron Yoo
Directed By: Jodie Foster
Money Monster is a good example of solid entertainment. It doesn’t really rewrite the genre, or create an uniquely original script. What it does instead is deliver on the promise of a good time, a well paced film with strong performances. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but not every film needs to. While this film is about the corruption of Wall Street, it is nowhere near The Big Short. It’s a good rental, or a Netflix watch.
George Clooney plays Lee Gates a loud-mouth cable news finance show host. He’s nearing retirement, and his producer (Roberts) already has her next job lined up. A slow news day turns into chaos when a young man (O’Connell) storms the studio with a gun and a bomb wanting answers about a stock he recommended that “lost” 800 million overnight. They claim computer glitch, but he’s calling bullshit.
Money Monster gets points for being one of the best paced films in recent memory. At 1:38, the film doesn’t waste scenes, or time on extra exposition, or filler moments. It keeps moving forward, which is a very important factor in a thriller. No one is going to win an Oscar from this, but Clooney, Roberts, and O’Connell are all very good. Jodie Foster did a good job of presenting a straight-forward thriller, shadowing Clooney just enough early on as a douchebag that his character arc over the course of the film works without the need for extra exposition. We don’t really see O’Connell’s character much before the hostage situation, yet we still connect with his plight. Foster is tapping into our current need to call bullshit on Wall Street, figuring we’ll all immediately side with O’Connell anyway. Even though he’s taking hostages, in many ways, he’s the films protagonist. To some, he’s the hero, and that’s the whole point.
There’s no need to rush out to theatres to see this. Ticket prices are high, and this is not a visually stunning masterpiece that demands a big screen. However, totally rent this, or see it if it goes streaming somewhere, because it is worth your time.
FINAL GRADE: B+