Money Monster: Film Review

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Seeing George Clooney playing a charismatic but douchey TV host who dances and has plenty of gimmicks is something I never knew I wanted but thanks to Money Monster we all get to enjoy those moments, which are the total highlights of this political thriller slash comedy. Yep, you read that correctly. It’s an odd combo but one I loved immensely. Big fan of Jodie Foster’s latest directorial effort.

Lee Gates (Clooney) is the obnoxious, self-absorbed host of the live stock tip/finance analysis show Money Monster and Patti (Julia Roberts) is his director. During one live broadcast a common viewer Kyle (Jack O’Connell) enters the studio and takes him hostage – forcing him to put on a bomb jacket that he will detonate if Patti takes them off air. Kyle took Lee’s advice seriously and put money into shares of IBIS Clear Capital, which has since suffered a “computer glitch”, which has lost them $800 million.

I have seen a few reviews since its debut at the Cannes Film Festival that haven’t been very kind – many note that the two leads don’t have much to do and that it’s too light-hearted for any serious tension and not funny enough to be a satire. Those are both fair points, but I enjoyed Money Monster anyway. True, I never felt any real danger given the hostage situation – Kyle seemed very desperate but not dangerous enough to kill, he just wants to be heard and for IBIS CEO Walt Camby (Dominic West) to be held accountable. My friend would have been preferred it to have been less funny so we could feel more tension and suspense, but loved it the way it is.

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Roberts had plenty to do and manages the crisis through her TV control room and Lee’s in-ear microphone – she showed off plenty of emotions and impressed me. It’s a shame she is separate from Clooney for most of the film because their chemistry is wonderful. Clooney is simply fine – I seriously loved the way he presents the show but then he gets lost when Kyle takes charge and doesn’t get to shine so much. O’Connell was brilliantly intense, but he has played plenty of dubious characters before.

The plot of Money Monster never goes in the way you might expect – they come up with different solutions to the problem and it never seems to pan out. I like that – its story line wasn’t obvious and I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes of a TV show – I find that fascinating. I also thought Caitriona Balfe was incredible as IBIS’ CCO and Camby’s bit on the side- I don’t watch Outlander so I wasn’t aware of her before, but I will be now.

Once the action moves to the street, it all gets a bit ridiculous and it started to lose some credibility. That would just not happen! But I’m always down for the bad guy getting their comeuppance – especially a greedy banker doing over his investors. I didn’t totally follow the finance part of it but you don’t really need to. Money Monster was not as dramatic and intense as I had been expecting but the laughs were welcome and it sets the film apart from the bog standard hostage thrillers.

In cinemas Friday 27th May 

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