Verdict: Simply riveting; will keep your eyes glued to the screen.
How long can a filmmaker pull a hostage story before the audience starts getting bored? You’d give it about 20 minutes and then possibly switch to something else, tired of the mundane action or the monotony. But Jodie Foster managed to break out of the mold. Her new directorial venture Money Monster was not only engaging but it also wouldn’t let you take your eyes off the screen. An ordinary story about a finance advisor and his crew taken hostage while on air was made extraordinary by Foster’s masterwork. The movie stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts in lead roles, while Jack O’Connell plays the anti-hero.
The story starts with a newsflash of a stable company’s stock plummeting, due to a ‘glitch’ in the system. Lee Gates (George Clooney), a financial pundit on TV, predicted huge success for the same company, and anyone who followed his advice had lost out on big money. One of these ill-fated people was Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), who instead of ruing his loss, decides to take matters into his hands, to get some legitimate answers. He successfully plans a hostage situation as he takes over Lee Gates’ show Money Monster, keeping Gates and the crew detained while on air. As he holds a gun to Gates’ head and a detonator to a vest bomb worn by Gates, the producer of the show Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) is forced to keep the cameras rolling. All Kyle wants in return is the explanation to how he lost the $60,000 he had invested in the stock company. Meanwhile at the company, the CEO has gone off the radar, and cannot be reached even by his CCO Diane Lester (Caitriona Balfe), who is determined to get to the root of the plummeting stocks, which amounted to $800 million.
Several factors contribute to making this movie a piece of absolute genius. Firstly, with a star cast of Clooney and Roberts, it is hard to see what could go wrong in the acting department. But it was Jack O’Connell who stole the show in the first half, before Clooney took back the reigns and reminded everyone who’s playing the real hero. Budwell’s aggressive idiosyncrasies blended well with Gates’ calming demeanor, making them the perfect star duo of the film. Clooney also kept the humor intact with a couple of good punches to fill in the void.
As the story progresses, the shifts in Gates’ character are palpable as a cocky, arrogant TV host finally begins to grow a conscience and works for what’s right. Clooney was everything we saw him in the Oceans series and much more. His chemistry with Roberts was off the charts, especially since they were barely in physical proximity throughout the movie. What worked more for Foster is that at no point in time did the script or the performances fall flat, as tensions ran high with every new twist and turn the movie threw at you. The film is a genuine entertainer, but also includes an underlined message that comes across clearly.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Other than its brilliant star cast, Money Monster has a lot to offer in terms of direction, story and engagement. It doesn’t matter if finance or stocks are not up your alley. This mind-blowing thriller does not demand your intellect or attention – it simply takes it from you!