Are the days of a good heist film over? I really hope not, because it’s one of my favorite sub genres of movies. When Money Monster was announced, I was pretty excited with the cast and who’d be directing. The result was less than what I was hoping for.
The official trailer for Money Monster:
Director Jodie Foster (yes, THAT Oscar winning actress Jodie Foster) really brought out a sense of realism from her cast, including the reunited George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Clooney stars as Lee Gates, host of a cable news network Stock Market tip show and Roberts as Patty Fenn, Gates’ producer and conscious (the little voice in his ear telling him what to do and say).
The film opens with just another day on the set of Money Monster, Gates’ show. We learn about a pretty major fiscal catastrophe of a big named corporation, and a missing $800 million in liquid digital capitol from IBUS along with the company’s AWOL CEO played by Dominic West. Gates does his normal bombastic thing, making his TV audiences feel both super smart for following his trading advice and super stupid for following his trading advice.
This is made completely apparent when Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) shows up with a gun and a bomb vest, taking Lee as hostage on live TV. It is slowly revealed that Budwell lost his entire savings due to Lee’s stock advice, and he is willing to die (taking the entire studio staff with him) unless answers about the IBUS “glitch” are found.
Live via satellite is IBUS’s corporate communications officer Diane Lester (Caitriona Balfe of Outlander fame), and she does her best to read through her talking points before becoming more embroiled in the story than we first thought. It was really WEIRD seeing Caitriona in a modern setting, being so used to her Outlander look and speech. She does an admirable job with a lackluster character, and I look forward to seeing other work from her.
I won’t ruin the big scenes or punches, but this script felt dated. The dialog better suited to a film at the beginning of the 2000’s maybe, and not in an age where the majority of the tech savvy audience will be scratching their heads saying “That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works”.
Parting thought: once the first bit of action happened, I couldn’t get a particular stubborn thought out of my head….what if this were a lost episode of The Newsroom, or maybe even the finale of the series? I could easily see the premise working on the Sorkin-snappy HBO series.
SCORE: 5.5 out of 10