“There’s human fingerprints all over this.”
Films about money confuse the ever-living-shit out of me. I mean, I can barely manage my monthly credit card payments and my TV bill, so going in to films like Wall Street always leave me nervous that I’m going to come out more confused than I went in. The Big Short is probably the most recent of these films to have me worried; luckily it had Margot Robbie naked in a bath tub to explain what was going on; I listened well I can tell you.
Now, I admit, I completely mis-read the kind of film that Money Monster was going to turn out to be. I was petrified that it was going to be another film that made me feel insecure about my chequebook. Luckily, I was wrong; and actress-turned-director Jodie Foster’s latest view from behind the camera turned out to be less a futile attempt to teach me how Wall Street works and more a tense, nail biting hostage thriller that doesn’t let up from start to finish.
George Clooney is Lee Gates, the loud, brash presenter of TV show “Money Monster”. Five days a week, he’s on the air giving advice and doling out wisdom to anyone who’ll listen and making money doing it. But 24 hours after IBIS International – Gates’ promised “sure thing” investment – goes south to the tune of $800 million because of a glitch in the companies trading programme, Gates finds himself staring down the barrel of Kyle Budwell’s (Jack O’Connell) pistol.
After losing every penny in the investment group’s crash, Budwell sees only one way forward – taking the financial guru and his crew hostage, wrapping him up in an explosive jacket and demanding answers on live television. With Lee’s long-time director Patty (Julia Roberts) in the studio trying to help the situation, the trio work to get IBIS’ boss Walt Camby (Dominic West) to answer for his company and get some closure before the hostage taker blows them all to hell.
Tension is the order of the day for Jodie Foster’s latest film. From the very second that O’Connell appears on the screen sweating and nervous, to the film’s final moments, you’re on the edge of your seat, with your bumhole puckered, and chewing on your nails.
Once the action starts, the film runs on at a breakneck pace, never really giving you time to catch your breath and take stock of what’s going on. For most of the film, we are confined to Gates’ set and Patty’s studio. Foster has done a splendid job of making you feel like you’re jammed into this situation, watching from the wings and wondering if you’re going to get out in one piece. It’s not quite claustrophobic, but it’s certainly very close.
And the film has actual, legitimate movie stars in it. George Clooney is awesome as Lee Gates. The Hollywood powerhouse does a great job as the ego-filled money mogul, brought down to earth with a proper bump as he’s strapped up with a bomb and told it’s his fault he’s in this position. With Julia Roberts up in the studio and in his ear, she is great as the TV personality’s foundation and ramps up the tension for all of us every time she gets nervous.
But, as is becoming the case quite a bit, the standout of the show is Jack O’Connell. Even with his slightly dodgy Brooklyn accent, O’Connell proves once again that he’s fast becoming a force to be reckoned with and believably goes toe-to-toe with Clooney at every step of the film. Considering the pedigree of actor he’s on the screen with, he still does a magnificent job of shining as bright as the rest of them.
So while I was expecting a slightly different film, Money Monster was a pleasant surprise. Every minute is wrought with tension and it’s acted and directed brilliantly. If a smartly written, smartly made hostage thriller is the kind of film that’s right up your street, then Money Monster should satisfy all your cravings.