Investments and Wall Street have been hot topics in Hollywood over the recent years with The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short taking real life events to the big screen. Now director Jodie Foster takes a fictionalised look at what happens when an investment goes wrong.
Lee Gates (George Clooney) hosts a popular show Money Monster giving tips of hot stocks to the viewing audience. During a live show disgruntled viewer Kyle (Jack O’Connell) manages to get into the studio and takes Gates hostage at gun point. As Kyle demands the cameras keep rolling as he asks for answers over a bad investment Gates producer Patty (Julia Roberts) tries to keep Kyle calm and Gates alive.
Considering the combined star power of Foster, Clooney and Roberts involved Money Monster is an accomplished and well produced affair. As in their previous movies together Clooney and Roberts work well together with their real life friendship flowing into a believable on screen chemistry as producer and star of Money Monster. Rising star Jack O’Connell manages to ozze charisma and raw talent as the angry but also somewhat sympathetic gunman. The central three characters are so compelling that the rest of the supporting characters fade fail to make much of an impression, apart from overwhelmed cameraman Lenny (Lenny Benito) and put upon assistant Ron (Christopher Denham) providing some comic relief.
Foster does a good build up, introducing the main players and the background to the events and when Kyle storms the studio it is a moment fills with tension. The film works best in these early stages and the action inside the studio keeps you glued to the screen. Perhaps if the whole film was set inside the studio it would have been a more thrilling, claustrophobic film. However whenever we step outside the thrills die and momentum is lost and struggles to build up again. There’s also the nagging feeling that the film is not as clever as it thinks it is and is not told in a particularly original way.
By the time we get to the last act the film feels too worthy and righteous to satisfy as an engaging thriller and its messages about evil companies are nothing new. It doesn’t help that the real bad guy of the movie is so obvious he might as well have villain tattooed on his forehead.
Rating 3/5 – solid enough but not outstanding despite a strong central trio