Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell
Director: Jodie Foster
Running Time: 98 mins
Money Monster is an American film about a financial TV show host and director who are taken hostage live on air by a man disillusioned with the extreme power of the bankers on Wall Street.
On the face of things, this looks like a pretty bog-standard thriller. At times, it is just that, and doesn’t provide the extreme thrills that the best of the genre can do, however thanks to some great lead performances, slick directing and a surprisingly fantastic final act, this was ultimately a very entertaining and sometimes even emotionally intriguing movie.
The one thing that really makes this film is the performances. Given a pretty mediocre script for two-thirds of the film, George Clooney and Jack O’Connell do a great job at keeping the film lively and entertaining as it appears to run out of steam. However, the best performance of all comes from Julia Roberts, playing the experienced director of the show who effectively controls the hostage situation both inside and outside of the studio.
Apart from being effortlessly supportable, Roberts gives such an assured and confident performance that you immediately believe that her character has got a good grip on everything that’s going on in this delicate situation. Again, there are some issues with the story that unfolds in the first two acts, particularly outside the actual hostage situation in the studio, but Roberts, along with her co-stars, make the film as enjoyable as it can be.
And along with the lead actors, Jodie Foster does a great job as director. Overall, she gives the film a very sleek look throughout, with the plethora of fancy graphics in the TV studio taking centre stage for a large part of the movie, and that really helps to make the film feel a lot slicker and fast-paced than it actually is. The story, although starting strongly, really runs out of steam about 40 minutes in, but thanks to the performances and Jodie Foster’s directing, it remains an enjoyable and seemingly quick-moving affair.
Those two elements of the film are consistent throughout, but the story itself doesn’t really pick up until the final act. However, when it does, and the film manages to brilliantly balance some genuine tension with an interesting commentary on Wall Street, it becomes far more engaging and exciting to watch.
Now, I love films like The Wolf Of Wall Street, but I was surprised by this film’s ability to make me see the situation from the opposite perspective. Money Monster does attempt this commentary from the beginning, although unsuccessfully, but when the film moves into its final act, and the finger-pointing becomes a lot clearer at why ordinary people are genuinely suffering from the careless actions of Wall Street bankers, I was actually convinced and nearly moved by what the film was trying to say, which I didn’t expect going into a simple thriller.
Overall, I enjoyed Money Monster. It has a lot of problems with its relatively thin and unconvincing story in the first two acts, but the fantastic finale makes up for that, and along with three great central performances and impressive directing, the film becomes a lot more enjoyable than you’d expect, and that’s why Money Monster gets a 7.5 from me.