Money Monster

Genre: Action/ drama
Year: 2016
Rating: MA
Length: 98 minutes
Main Cast: George Clooney
Julia Roberts
Jake O’Connell
Main Production Company: The Allegiance Theater
Written By:Alan Di Fiore
Jim Kouf
Jamie Linden
Directed by: Jodie Foster

moneymonstersmall

When I saw Julia Roberts with her natural hair and had a role that required her to be more than one-dimensional it showed how much, Jodie Foster is right now than Gary Marshall who put Roberts in that awful movie called Mother’s Day. Money Monster is a mixture between The Big Short and Captain Phillips as Money Monster uses ideas from these movies. I don’t think those ideas were used to their fullest potential but what Money Monster achieves is an engaging story with good acting and realistic dialogue. Despite the ideas not being fully utilized, I could see what Foster was trying to do. There is a lot to like about the movie and I was one happy customer.

Money Monster starts off with an egocentric broadcast presenter Lee Gates (Clooney) who tries to make news about economics and the future of performances in various markets entertaining with his antics. During a live broadcast, Kyle Budwell (Jake O’Conner), an armed civilian, holds the studio hostage on live television due to Budwell losing everything due to a misinformed tip from Gates about the market. With the Julia Roberts character as the studio executive speaking to Gates on his earpiece, they have to find a way to diffuse the situation.

The elements that are brought in from Captain Phillips was the idea of a man holding up a crew for the majority of the movie only for the gunman to not being a villain but rather a tragic figure who is a victim of circumstance. When worked well, this idea can bring lots of audience engagement through tension and intensity. Money Monster delivers that idea in the first two-thirds of the movie, up until all the characters move outside the studio. There is one moment with an actress called Emily Meade who plays Kyle’s pregnant girlfriend. She talks to Kyle through an audio feed. The dialogue and her execution of that dialogue were so harrowing that it kicked the tension up a whole new level for me, even more so by Kyles reaction to it. It was also the last thing I expected. However, the intensity was weakened the moment everyone went outside, like tension and the gravity of the situation was noticeably deflating, it was still decent, but I was unsatisfied with the payoff to something that built-up so well. It was a 4 and a half star build up with a 3-star payoff.

The ideas that Money Monster presents that are akin to The Big Short are many to which I cannot reveal specifically (I don’t like spoiling it for you readers!) I can say it is about white collar crime and economics (The movie title does say Money Monster for a reason). Foster plays those ideas effectively with Jake O’Conner’s character as he is constantly doing these exposition-like rants about injustice in a capitalistic society throughout. So, as usual, I was pumped for the final pay-off because the build-up was well executed. The payoff is not a great as it could have been as it felt rushed and was secondary to a subplot that I won’t reveal because that too will spoil the ending. I will say that subplot gave character development in George Clooney’s character and gave him a third dimension, but in a movie like Money Monster, I think the power of the economic themes were the most important element to be presented.

So Money Monster is not a great movie as the entire movie was not great, nor is it an average movie with fleeting signs of greatness. It is better than an average movie with a lot of great build-ups, dialogue and chemistry between actors followed by decent emotional payoffs. Even at it’s weakest the movie was good, to which some movies cannot even achieve that. I liked this movie. I liked it a lot. ***3/4

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