Saturday, May 21, 2016

Money Monster

Plot: On a network like CNBC on a show like Jim Cramer's, a viewer who lost money following the host's advice takes him hostage on live TV. Host Lee Gates (George Clooney) is afraid, and steely director Patty (Julia Roberts) keeps the cameras running while the gunman Kyle (Jack O'Connell) demands answers, and the SWAT team prepares. In the background, network reporters dig into back story of the company involved.    [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Money Monster is primarily suspense with a sprinkle of satire and farce.

Highlights were Julia Roberts' acting which had equal parts determination and fear. I liked the tightly focused story; it keeps moving. Low-lights were the unrealistic story which reduced the intensity of the action, and kept reminding me I was watching a movie. Perhaps this was intended to be farce comedy, but it didn't work.

Bad guy Kyle is a bumbler, and not someone to be scared of. This is because he is victim not a real villain, and by implications all the investors are also victims. Kyle's girlfriend Molly (Emily Meade) comes on TV and tells him off on TV with plenty of funny insults; welcome humor at Kyle's expense.

I thought Money Monster was trying to be educational about high-frequency trading in the way The Big Short was about the 2007 crash, but then it undercut itself with the its ending that had a different kind of bad guy. I suppose the message is that Wall Street is crooked -- like Bernie says. There was a bit of satire of the TV business, but primarily the cast is shown as sincere good people. 

Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell

Directed by:
Jodie Foster

Written by: 
Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf

The Music:
Suspenseful electronic & acoustic music by Dominic Lewis

The Visuals: OK

2.5 stars: I liked it OK. I'd recommend it to people, but it isn't a great suspense.


More: Director Jodie Foster says the film is about the rage people feel in America. People who work hard and are taken advantage of. More here.