Cary, NC – Director Jodie Foster attempts to tackle a timely issue and while she isn’t 100 percent successful, the film uses its movie stars well and proves that mid-budget, R-rated films aimed at adult audiences can still make it in a sea of blockbuster superhero movies.
Clooney And Roberts Are Great, As Usual
Directed by Foster (The Silence of the Lambs) and starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, Money Monster is a tight and effective thriller about extravagant television financial analyst Lee Gates, played by Clooney, who gets taken hostage live on the air by an average Joe, played by Jack O’Connell, who lost everything with one of Gates’ tips.
At the beginning of the film, Clooney is in full goofball mode, doing hip-hop dances to open his fictional show. He is always game to make a fool of himself and I for one love to see him do it.
But of course, he is a great actor as well and when things get serious, Clooney is more than up for the challenge. He spends most of his screen time with newcomer O’Connell (Unbroken), who pushes Clooney to up his game.
Roberts is great as well as the producer of the show. Unfortunately, the majority of her scenes have her confined to a control room as she watches in horror as everything unfolds. The few scenes she does have with Clooney are great though, as the two are at each other’s throats from the very beginning. They’ve proven long ago that they have a great chemistry together and getting to see them spew hate back and forth is a lot of fun.
Film Not As Informative As It Wants To Be
My only real complaint is that Foster and her screenwriting team don’t really dig into any of the issues of the financial industry that it so desperately wants to. The film scratches the surface and hints at ideas of who to blame, but can’t quite follow through with any real insight to the matter. Last year’s Oscar winning film The Big Short was much more successful with exploring the issue, using humor and facts to inform in a way that always felt entertaining.
Effective Thriller Still Worth Seeing
Still, the film works best as a thriller, and Foster keeps tensions high throughout. The cast is great, and overall Money Monster is a nice break from the summer blockbusters now in season. Here’s hoping Hollywood pays attention and gives us more like Money Monster.