In the real-time, high stakes thriller Money Monster, George Clooney and Julia Roberts star as financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty, who are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor who has lost everything (Jack O'Connell) forcefully takes over their studio. During a tense standoff broadcast to millions on live TV, Lee and Patty must work furiously against the clock to unravel the mystery behind a conspiracy at the heart of today's fast-paced, high-tech global markets.
ActorsStarring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell, Caitriona Balfe, Dominic West, Lenny Venito, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Denham, Condola Rashad, Emily Meade, Chris Bauer, Dennis Boutsikaris, Olivia Luccardi, Aaron Yoo, Grant Rosenmeyer, Greta Lee, Cenk Uygur
If you put George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O’Connell together, directed by Jodie Foster, you’d be right to be expecting a pretty decent film. And indeed, Money Monster is just that: a pretty decent film.
The subject is topical in the still current aftermath of the global financial market meltdown of the late 2010s: greed in the form of corporate abuse of investor funds for personal gains. George Clooney is Lee Gates, loudmouth host of ‘Money Monster’, a TV show where he dances and prances around making wild predictions about the markets and advocating his latest stock picks with great arrogance and fanfare. During a live show, viewer Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) manages to slip onto the set, quickly turning it into a gun-waving, bomb-vest packing hostage situation. Turns out Kyle lost his life savings taking Gates’ advice on a particular stock pick: Ibis Clear Capital. Producer Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) tries to help the brash Lee navigate through the difficulties of dealing with Kyle and keep him from blowing Lee and others up, whilst at the same time trying to find out what caused Ibis’s shares to collapse.
Jack O’Connell’s performance is competent but not as raw or hard-hitting as he was in e.g. Starred Up. Julia Roberts is solid especially as she is mostly confined to her producer’s booth and mic. George Clooney is always easy to watch, but the more outlandish side of this character does feel somewhat unnatural for him. If there is one thing that Money Monster teaches us, it is that even snazzy editing can’t hide the fact that George Clooney certainly is no Hugh Jackman when it comes to dancing.
I enjoyed the movie. The acting is fine, the photography and score are straightforward but pleasant, the pacing is good, and it is simply pretty entertaining. You’d be well within your rights to be expecting more from this ensemble and topic. It is never really all that suspenseful, and the Ibis Clear Capital element of the plot is too shallow to be any kind of indictment or exposé of personal and corporate greed.
All in all, a forgettable but fun way to while an hour and a half away.