Money makes the world go round.
We can bounce around the idea that to live happily and free, we have to discard the loose change of coins and notes in our pockets and just, like, experience the world, man. These trilobites are passed around social media in an ironic attempt to convince folks that your hard earned cash is completely unneeded (ironic because everything needed to use social media costs money).
It’s a fair enough platitude in the sense that our lives shouldn’t rely on fame, fortune, and shallow equities to be happy – love, friends, and family should populate your soul too. But unless you want to live in a cave and promote a truly rural existence away from any society, you are going to need money. The sentiment that you don’t need money, just love and travel, is also something passed down from the elite to help the poor scrape by with their means whilst then manipulating the income, savings, and money the working class actually have.
This theme is what catalyses Money Monster and drives the energy: That those with meagre income are idiots whilst the wealthy our geniuses – forgetting that the latter leeches off the former to survive. And our “antagonist” Kenny passionately encompasses the rage we have.
Money Monster revolves around Lee Gates, a popular but arrogant TV personality who focuses on Wall Street and finance, telling people when to buy and sell. However, an irate investor, Kyle, holds him hostage after losing all his money in a technical glitch from big firm IBIS. Trying to get answers, it seems IBIS has retreated into hiding. Alongside his producer Patty Fenn, Gates has to navigate this new situation and try to survive!
Directed by Jodie Foster, Money Monster is a driven and ambitious film that has a thrilling and tense atmosphere.
This nuanced piece captures society to a tee. Though not completely fleshing out the world’s reaction to Kyle holding a television show hostage, Foster and her team of script writers take aspects of the social lives we are living and makes the whole escapade feel completely real. The ideas of despondency (a man begging for his life to be saved and no one responds,) recording tragic events as though they were celebrity sightings, and making memes out of every possible situation allow Money Monster to be tuned into the world around them and that helps the film develop its exploits.
What Foster and the screenplay relies on, however, is the performances that kinetically enliven the film that, in parts, can feel rudimentary and clichéd. The driving force at the core of it is the chemistry between Clooney and Roberts. Whilst the parts away from one another are old-hand for seasoned performers such as these, together they reinvigorate the roles with an understanding unlike any other. Bouncing off plans to – not only escape from a bomb, a gun, and an enraged man – but to convey the events to the public via the television screen, the director and presenter pairing enraptures viewers and brings them into the action at the core of it. Clooney and Roberts feed off one another and it is fantastic to watch.
As for Jack O’Connell. The Derby lad who stuffs his mouth with a convincing New York accent does well to layer the angered Kyle with a humanity, making his violence understandable and the motives accessible. His relatability and emotion makes him likeable to the audiences within the film and those watching the scenes flicker on. O’Connell peppers the character with many threads and the BAFTA winner is simple enthralling.
Money Monster isn’t a perfect film and at times the run time drags and becomes stuck in dull repetition. An hour feels like two and by the end, your arse will be thankful for the rolling credits. It’s also a common trend for actors turned directors to drench their films in clichés and Money Monster relies on a bundle of hostage movie tropes a little too much to walk its own path.
That being said, Money Monster is very gripping and engaging, helped by the provocative and impassioned performances at the centre.
Money Monster is available on Netflix now!