MONEY MONSTER [2016]

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Directed by Jodie Foster

Written by Jamie Linden (screenplay), Alan DiFiore (screenplay), Jim Kouf (screenplay)

Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, Giancarlo Esposito


When George Clooney is at his best, few can match his charisma. His character here, Lee Gates, is a TV show host that reports on the economy and the stock market. He has the gift of the gab, turning what would otherwise be a drab show into entertainment that many people watch. It doesn’t take long for this film to sink its hooks in, as soon into the film an unexpected arrival comes onto the set with a gun, and demands Lee to put on a vest covered with explosives. Holding the detonator with his thumb, Kyle can’t be shot or there will be a very large bang.

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With his director (Julia Roberts) in his ear all the way, Lee begins to engage with Kyle, who has lost money because of a recommendation Lee had made. 800 million dollars has gone missing, causing economic grief for many more people than Kyle, and Lee doesn’t have an answer. The company responsible for the massive loss of money blames the crisis on a ‘computer glitch’, which angers Kyle, who wants a real explanation. Other than referring to a glitch, the company is limited to saying simply, “we don’t know how it happened.”

Kyle says himself that he does not plan on walking out of the building alive. Events quickly escalate, and the story takes on many fun and unexpected twists. The director, despite her differences with Lee, helps him through the tough situation, and it is clear that their relationship has strengthened, with both having changed drastically as people. The character arcs in this film are very well executed.

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With Kyle as the main attraction, the film juggles a few sub-plots that all meet neatly. These include Korean computer wizards, to Dutch stoners who like to hack in their spare time, to the company that has caused this to happen by losing 800 million dollars.

Money Monster also shows how hard it is to understand economics, which allows people like Lee to host television shows that help people make decisions about their money. Additionally, Lee’s charisma is a perfect display of the media manipulating its viewers. His performances lead people to believe what he is saying as fact, which is how many commercial television shows operate. This is what angers Kyle the most. Not the money he has lost, but the principal of how Lee acts, how the media acts, how so many people have been screwed.

Apart from some very implausible (but entertaining) scenarios, the film plays out in ways that subvert most genre tropes to create a thrilling experience that will have viewers leaning forwards. Surprising for a film about economics, yes, but given how quickly this film kicks off, that tension is sustained for most of the film.

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For all the stereotypes it avoids, it unfortunately falls short during a few very key scenes. It is surprisingly funny and tense at the same time, but it also suffers from a very unsubtlefive beer(1) attitude and bias, as well as scenes that just simply would not happen in the real world. This isn’t the real world though, and though it has flaws, it is an entertaining watch that motors through the story; a film has never felt so short. When Clooney is focused he can be one of the best actors to watch, and this is the case here. Jack O’Connell is also very convincing as the mentally unstable Kyle. Not a perfect film, but a damned entertaining one.

One beer short of a sixer

5/6

23 Comments on “MONEY MONSTER [2016]

    • Thanks a ton Cindy 🙂

      Also I am trying to get Chapter six finished of my book, I’ll let you know when I post it, I’d again love to hear any feedback/constructive criticism

      Liked by 1 person

      • Okey-Dokey. I’m working on chapter 4 of mine. Sigh. I fear I’ll never get it all done. So many interruptions! I need to lock myself up in a room with no technology….

        Liked by 1 person

      • YES! I know what you mean, so many distractions… I get sooo much writing done on the train cos its an hour journey and there is nothing else to do. But for me my story is a bit harder, as it was quite a traumatic experience, and I have to go back in time, into that mindset I was in, to write it how I want. But these are just excuses, I need to quit being lazy and finish the damned thing! Its been going since I got out of rehab almost five years ago! =/

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  1. I saw this last night and didn’t really take to it, unfortunately. Just found too much wrong with it, but that said I do like watching Clooney when he’s being smooth and I did find some bits funny.

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    • Fair enough 🙂 I didn’t love it but a movie has never felt so short before. It felt like it flew by. It certainly has its flaws but they didn’t really bother me

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      • Yeah it’s quite quickly paced isn’t it? It has been quite a big success over here, which I guess is partly down to the fact Clooney and Roberts are still big draws.

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      • Yeah it really flew by, I guess that’s why I didn’t notice any flaws until thinking about it afterwards. And even then, do those flaws matter if I didn’t notice them as I was watching?

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      • No, I guess they don’t! This is the problem with a) thinking about any film afterwards b) reading the opinions of other people on the Internet afterwards (or before)! There are loads of films where I’ve enjoyed them enough in the moment, and then later you read so many people picking them apart and making you aware of stuff that you start to look on the film negatively. But I guess there’s nothing wrong in anyone’s opinion changing. Rambling here!

        Liked by 1 person

      • haha yeah I get what you mean. I rarely read opinions before I see a movie, and if I do I’m not thinking about them when I watch the movie. I’m not thinking at all, I’m immersing myself in another world. And when I read about films afterwards, even if people disagree or whatever, it doesn’t change the fact I enjoyed the movie and would watch it again, because it was entertaining. Rambling here myself now 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah I agree with this a lot. There’s a lot of flaws to be found but it is really thrilling and I think the classic pairing of Clooney and Roberts works wonders here. Also really digging this Jack O’Connell guy. Saw him first in ’71 which was incredible, skipped Unbroken because Angelina Jolie just flat-out sucks and when I saw this he also impressed. I can’t wait to see more of him

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I really liked O’Connell here too. He was good in Unbroken, which was a fucking terrible movie. I think I ragged on it in one of your bite sized reviews hehe 😛

      I still need to see ’71.

      And yeah, there are flaws a plenty but I was leaning forwards constantly, so I didn’t notice them at all. It was only in hindsight that I thought of its problems… so they didn’t ruin the movie for me at all.

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  3. I’m a big fan of Clooney and think his charisma and ocassional goofiness are both put to work and balanced very effectively. And I think O’Connell has been kind of killing it lately. I was entertained by Money Monster but found it to be The Big Short lite and thought it missed an opportunity by focusing on fictional villains.

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  4. I’m quite surprised to see such a high score on this. I might give it a rent because it’s directed by Jodie Foster, but I’m not all that excited to see it to be honest.

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  5. Great post 🙂 Speaking of George Clooney, remember O, Brother Where Art Thou? That was a great one 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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  6. Interesting write-up!! I liked the way you pointed out, how television can manipulate audiences, into believing something as being factual.
    You’ve also mentioned a few flaws at the end, but despite it you’ve given a 5/6!! That’s a high rating. This film must be a real entertainer. I’d love to check it out. Love the cast and the director too!! 🙂

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  7. Great review Jordan. Sadly I missed it at the theaters, though it was only on for a couple of weeks 😛 But I’ve heard a lot of good things about, especially people comparing it to Dog Day Afternoon and Network.

    Like

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