Money Monster: Film Review
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell, Dominic West, Giancarlo Esposito
Director: Jodie Foster
Dumbing down the financials and offering stock tips to the masses from inside his bubble and TV studio, Gates' world, so studiously run by the voice in his ear Patty (Julia Roberts), comes crashing down when a disgruntled punter Kyle (71's Jack O'Connell) shows on set with a gun.
Taking Masters hostage and captivating both those in the studio and those watching, O'Connell's Noo York inhabitant and everyday schmoe wants answers of the big financial company who lost them millions.
With the clock ticking, it's up to the back room team (who wryly and sadly note early on that they don't do journalism) to track down some answers and keep the SWAT teams at bay...
Rattling along a pace it's clear that director Jodie Foster's cleverly positioned all the pieces together to paper over some of the more obvious cracks of the story. Mixing elements of satire and the apathetic reality of the masses (which is woefully underutilised except for one final scene) in with a thriller and moments of comedy are a potent mix for this clock-ticking flick.
There's no denying though that the provocative elements that may have been more on the nose are overwhelmed by the desire to create a relatively formulaic popcorn flick (and not that there's anything wrong with that).
Both Clooney and the nervy O'Connell keep the audience fairly invested in the drama when it flies back from comic interludes into the hostage situation. That said, there's a lack of suspense here and there that proves to be part of the film's undoing as it plays out and as the slightly sillier threads are pulled together, it lacks the tension to fully invest in - even if it does throw some unexpected twists and left turns into the mix, choosing not to go down the familiar tried and tested route.
Roberts is completely in control as Patty, both behind the scenes and on the screen. There's an inner strength that radiates from her performance and makes her more plausible as it plays out; Outlander star Catriona Balfe as a PR head of a finance company is solid as well, making the best of her arc that as it unravels proves hard to actually suspend disbelief.
While the divide between the working man and the rich fatcats would have proven fertile dramatic territory, it's clear a combination of the workmanlike execution of Foster's direction and a script that fails to fully damn the Wall Street mob proves to be the tonal undoing of Money Monster.
Ultimately, the preposterousness of Money Monster becomes its overriding characteristic, and while it's not fully fatal, its superficial take on the whole thing renders it more of a serviceably watchable and disposable piece rather than a scathing indictment of an ongoing problem.