Right up my alley. Everybody has to participate in the stock market in one way or the other, it is the nature of life nowadays. Money Monster is about a man with a gun and a bomb who lost big (Jack O’Connell). He forces himself onto live television and wants answers, so he takes the fast talking host of a finance show (George Clooney) hostage. The host has to see if he can work his way out of this with the aid of his director (Julia Roberts) in his ear, all the while the world watches. Every so often there is a movie that fails to resonate with both critics and audiences alike, but deserves better. It doesn’t happen often, as one or the other typically prevails, but it did happen twice in 2013 with The Call and Pain & Gain. It has now happened again with Money Monster, which might just end up being my sleeper pick of the year.
It almost makes you wonder why nothing like this has happened before.
This is Jodie Foster directing, and I’ve personally liked what I’ve seen from her so far (she also did The Beaver in 2011). She does a great job at keeping things tense, and you are right there in the moment for the entire movie. This is aided by the fact that this story is mostly told in real time, which makes it feel like it starts and ends in an instant. Clooney is perfect for the lead, and I loved the dynamic where he has Julia Roberts is in his ear, pretty much saying everything that the audience is thinking to him out loud. It’s palpably panicky, and what makes it so interesting is that you can understand the points of view of everyone involved. You obviously get why this host doesn’t want to die, but you also get why this television director is trying to crack this mystery so hard, and why this man with a gun wants answers as much as he does. Because there is understanding, you’re not necessarily rooting for or against anybody.
And it is a situation that continues to go from bad to worst.
I thought the trailers to this looked intriguing, but I never expected this to be as good as it is. It is fast moving, and it never slows down, keeping the story at full speed ahead with plenty of twists and turns that keep you guessing. You’re with it the whole time, and it even has a decent message about there needing to be accountability for items that probably get overlooked on a day to day basis (keeping this intentionally vague so as to avoid spoilers). It’s a fine thriller, and one of the better ones I’ve seen in quite a while.
Money Monster (2016) ****1/2
– Critic for Hire
Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2016? See for yourself here.