Director: Jodie Foster
Writer: Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Denham, Lenny Venito
Seen on: 29.5.2016
Lee (George Clooney) and his producer Patty (Julia Roberts) have a very successful TV show in which he discusses the developments on Wall Street. As part of his show, Lee gives recommendations on what stocks to buy and what to sell. And recently he recommended the stocks of Walt’s (Dominic West) company – that shortly thereafter went bust in a pretty spectacular fashion. Janitor Kyle (Jack O’Connell) followed Lee’s advice – and lost everything. Now Kyle has found his way into the studio and takes Lee hostage, hoping to get to the truth – and to justice.
Money Monster is a very watchable film with good performances. It’s solid, but it never really manages to go beyond that.
Wall Street and the financial sector got quite a few films recently, all tackling different aspects of a complex, almost impenetrable system that is designed to make the rich richer and to fuck the rest. It’s definitely a system that makes shoving off responsibility for pretty much anything and everything very easy indeed. In Money Monster, we have a person accustomed to the system and to denying any kind of responsibility confronted by a person who carries the weight of the world on their shoulders and hoped to use the system to take a bit of the load off – only to end up in a worse spot without ever really understanding how and why this was possible.
That focus on who is responsible for this is interesting, but falls a bit flat because there actually is a single person to blame for Kyle’s misfortune. That means it’s not the flawed system that is being called out but rather we get an irresponsible man who works the system and a bad man who exploits the system – and he is the one being called out.
That means that the film isn’t quite as critical as it thinks it is, remaining at the surface of the real issues (that they could have tackled in an interesting way, seeing as the first sign of the catastrophe was a failing algorithm, adding the dimension of automation in the financial sector that thus far has taken a back seat in all these stories). Nevertheless it is a good watch, with pacing that is spot-on and a core cast on fire: George Clooney and Julia Roberts and their characters really make for a great team and their relationship feels really believable. O’Connell’s Kyle feels a little more forced and has less of the natural ease with which Clooney and Roberts inhabit their characters, but that may as well be due to role itself.
In any case, it’s a decent entry in the growing genre of Wall Street movies that manages to be keep you interested throughout as allegiances are shifted a few times. It may not be the best film in the world, but it is far from being bad.