<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Jodie Foster. Starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Giancarlo Esposito
Running Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Money Monster feels a bit dated even though its contents are still relevant.
Money Monster is a financial show on TV unlike most others you’ve seen but totally believable for a country like America. The host, Lee Gates (George Clooney), dances, rings a bell, uses sound effects and movie reels to talk about stocks and shares and the next best thing to invest in. Sometimes, this leads him to reckless claims but try as she may, his director Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) can’t always reel him in. And she plans to leave the show, so she stops caring.
That is until Kyle Budwell manages to get on the set of the show and hold Lee and the crew hostage with a gun and a bomb vest. His gripe: losing some money in a company he invested in that also lost $800 million of other people’s money due to a ‘computer glitch’. He wants answers and he wants them on Live TV.
Initially, Money Monster plays out a bit like a stage play. Even the acting is slightly contrived. But the pace picks up as the intrigue of the ‘glitch’ takes hold of you. Clooney turns from a scared kid into a man on a mission with the help of Roberts who keeps the tension going. There are many light moments in the movie and it pretty much plays out like you’d expect it to.
All this would have been more poignant during the years of the big stock market crash and all the Wall Street scandals. As it is, Money Monster tells you pretty much what you already know: that your money in the bank isn’t really yours and it isn’t even money, it’s just strings of numbers flying through a computer system and is at the mercy of the markets and sometimes unscrupulous investment tycoons.
Money Monster would have been seriously B-grade had it not been for the star power of Clooney and Roberts, who apparently shot a lot of their scenes separately, which is interesting to know.