Title – Money Monster (2016)
Director – Jodie Foster (The Beaver)
Cast – George Clooney, Jack O’Connell, Julia Roberts, Dominic West, Giancarlo Esposito, Caitriona Balfe
Plot – Smug TV presenter and financial guru Lee Gates (Clooney) finds himself in a life and death situation when the scorned working class Kyle Budwell (O’Connell) takes him hostage during a live television broadcast that takes the world by storm.
“Without risk, there is no reward”
Review by Eddie on 30/01/2017
A genuine attempt at both a satirical black comedy and an expose of those nasty big corporations flirting with peoples livelihoods and their money, Jodie Foster’s Money Monster is the type of film that doesn’t quite feel like an out-and-out failure but is very far from a home run, and that Money Monster has come and gone from cinemas and people’s minds is testament to the fact this film is a bit of a non-event.
Recruiting her star buddies George Clooney (in what continues to be a lean patch for the silver fox following on from films like The Monuments Men, Hail, Caesar and Tomorrowland), Julia Roberts and rising star Jack O’Connell into this initially intriguing set up of O’Connell’s pushed-too-far truck driver Kyle Budwell taking Clooney’s money guru TV presenter Lee Gates hostage during a live broadcast, feels like a half complete script that writers Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore and Jim Kouf struggled to turn into something believable or as interesting as the set up feels ripe to be, and Foster’s turn behind camera isn’t enough to make proceedings workout.
With the story quickly getting a little too much to bare, much of the film’s saving graces come from the work of the trio of main actors, and while Clooney could do this role in his sleep, Roberts in particular does well with a rather generic “kindly producer” role and Jack O’Connell, while not fully utilized, does showcases the intensity seen in his brilliant turn in the magnificent prison drama Starred Up and to a lesser extent Unbroken and ’71.
O’Connell truly is one of the stars to watch with the young Brit possessing a screen presence not dissimilar to a young Al Pacino or Robert De Niro, and should directors harness this intense commitment its likely we will be seeing the performer deliver on his undoubted potential, whereas Foster lets him go astray with his New York accent and hyperactivity that at times takes away from his solid moments.
Money Monster isn’t a bad film, but it never once gets close to becoming a great one, even if the opening 10 – 15 minutes seem to suggest it could well have been. The film continues on an interesting career path for Jodie Foster who shows slight improvement here over her misguided comedy The Beaver, but has a large gap to make up before she can be considered a director to keep a close eye on, as this Money Monster unfortunately doesn’t make it rain.
2 ½ ointment creams out 5