Money Monster Film Review

Film Review by Jarred Tito

The Premise
In the real-time, high stakes thriller Money Monster, George Clooney and Julia Roberts star as financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty, who are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor who has lost everything (Jack O'Connell) forcefully takes over their studio. During a tense standoff broadcast to millions on live TV, Lee and Patty must work furiously against the clock to unravel the mystery behind a conspiracy at the heart of today's fast-paced, high-tech global markets.

The Review
The movie opens with the hustling and bustling sounds and scenes of a busy television studio. The sound of producers barking orders, camera crews busy at their machines, the floor manager calling for make up and the director Patty (Julia Roberts) chasing down her star attraction and anchor ‘Lee’ (George Clooney) who defiantly fans the flames causes the cracks in the network’s doubtful future to fraction a little further. The scene is not unlike the opening of one of my all time favs, “The Network”. But unlike “The Network” this movie is not about a TV station and corrupt reporting. This storyline is a lot simpler. It’s about the leading brass of Wall Street being caught with their ‘fingers in the till’ and one man’s struggle to publicly bring them to justice. Jack O’Connell does a fantastic job as a desperate gunman.

As far as I know this is one of Jodie Foster’s first directional films, and certainly one of her first suspense thrillers. With a lot of experience in front of the camera in famous thrillers such as “The Silence Of The Lambs” and “Panic Room”, you would think that suspense films were a second language to her. However, this is not necessarily the case. This films plays around with satire and comedy just as much as it does with suspense, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s an intellectual thriller, but it certainly heads in that direction.

The not so well known Jack O’Connell worked brilliantly against Hollywood A-listers Clooney and Roberts. He played his character extremely well. Being a desperate man up against it all seemed to come naturally. I’m glad that casting director went with a relatively unknown – this was vital in the film, helping to keep the theme realistic. Actor anonymity was pivotal in keeping the suspense flowing. It would not have worked nearly as well if they picked a main star.

There are good moments with dialogue which allow Clooney to do what he does best, which is to have natural-sounding conversations on the big screen. Roberts, equal to the task, offsets Clooney’s role, which creates an effect of satire. I wouldn’t call this a comedy, but there are plenty of lighter moments throughout. The writers and Foster alike obviously enjoy pointing the moral finger at Wall Street, which grounds the story in some kind of reality though far from the likes of “The Big Short”. This movie certainly does carry a torch for moral justice but in a very American patriotic way. There are some very good moments of tension, moments of sadness and a bit of irony, which I find pleasing in any script.

The Verdict
If you’re not into heavy plots but like a good tale, this is definitely a good film for you. There are some other gems in there, for example seeing Julia Roberts in a serious role again and George Clooney playing the victim. For at least some of the time. Overall I enjoyed the movie. It flows, it works and it should make for a promising watch.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 2nd June 2016
Rating: M – Contains Violence, offensive language & sex scenes
Duration: 99 minutes 
Genre:  Drama /Thriller
Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Caitriona Balfe
Director: Jodie Foster (Home For The Holidays, Little Man Tate)

The Extras
For scheduling reasons, Julia Roberts and George Clooney didn't work together a lot in the movie. Furthermore, Roberts shot all of her scenes with green screen on the monitors her character is constantly watching.

The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2014 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.

Due to his friendship with co-star Jack O'Connell, George Clooney has become a fan of O'Connell's hometown football team Derby County.

This film marks the fourth time George Clooney and Julia Roberts have appeared in a film together. The other three are Ocean's Eleven (2001), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) and Ocean's Twelve (2004).

Director Jodie Foster was considered for Julia Roberts' roles in Pretty Woman (1990) and Conspiracy Theory (1997). Conspiracy Theory would have reunited her with Mel Gibson and Richard Donner, whom she worked with on Maverick (1994).

Julia Roberts' character was originally called Nancy.