REVIEW: Money Monster

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Review by Dustin Heller

Money Monster is the new Wall Street thriller starring George Clooney and Julie Roberts and directed by Jodie Foster.  This is the first film Foster has directed since the underrated The Beaver starring Mel Gibson in 2011.  The film also stars up-and-comer Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, and Caitriona BalfeMoney Monster just had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival where it screened out-of-competition.  It is rated R for language throughout, some sexuality and brief violence.

Financial guru Lee Gates (Clooney) is the host of his own hit television show, “Money Monster.”  His director, Patty Fenn (Roberts), has a love/hate relationship with him and has recently accepted another job at a competing network across the street.  On the heels of an overnight stock crash of the company Ibis Clear Capital due to a “glitch” in their financial algorithm, Gates and everyone on the “Money Monster” set are taken hostage by Kyle Budwell (O’Connell), a disgruntled delivery truck driver who lost his life savings in the unexpected stock crash.

Kyle wants a real answer and does not accept the “glitch” theory, so he straps a bomb to Gates’ chest and holds him hostage on live air until he gets the answers as to what really happened.  Unfortunately, the CEO of Ibis is nowhere to be found and time is running out.  As the TV crew and Gates dig deeper into the situation, they begin to realize there might be more to this story than what was originally reported.

Money Monster is a very entertaining and intense thriller that plays out in real time.  The pacing for Money Monster is fast and energetic and does an excellent job of pulling the viewer in until the final frame, although, there is a bit of a lull in the middle that drags on a bit.  It was also able to make something substantial and pretty intense out of such a minimalistic situation.

The storyline is fairly simple and straightforward, but the action on-screen and the performances from the actors make it quite exciting.  Jodie Foster only has four film directing credits to her name, but she is an exceptional talent as much behind the camera as she is in front of it.

The trio of Clooney, O’Connell, and Roberts are excellent together and their chemistry is exceptional.  Clooney and Roberts seem like lifelong friends that just love hanging out and working with one another (they make it look so easy).  Money Monster could be a surprise hit for the summer and is definitely worthy of a trip to the theater.

Grade:  B+

Money Monster opens in theaters on Friday, May 13

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