Money Monster Movie Review
Entertaining if slight, energetic but derivative, Money Monster is a fast-paced thriller that begins with a bang and ends with… well, a literal bang. The amount of fun George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O’Connell appear to have had making this movie will rub off on you, even if the final act is as ludicrous as Bernie Sanders running as a Republican.
O’Connell plays a down-on-his-luck man who, having lost all of his money on an investment encouraged by television personality Lee Gates, decides to take Gates hostage and strap a bomb to his chest. Gates (Clooney) and his producer (Roberts) attempt to calm the man down, which in turn leads to them doing some serious albeit desperate journalism to save both of their necks.
Directed by Jodie Foster, Money Monster is at times a blast to watch, a movie that feels like something out of the 90’s--but in a good way. The premise is simple, the starpower is bright, and the machinations of the story churn at a solid rate. Foster keeps things moving and relies on the charisma of her cast to inject intensity and charisma into each scene. The movie also offers a fair amount of unexpected but much appreciated laughs.
The story unfortunately goes off the rails in the third act as Foster and company try to turn something simple into something much more complex. The addition of (spoiler) a financial conspiracy and questionable character decisions open up quite a few plot holes--namely, are we really supposed to believe that Gates would suddenly decide to take matters into his own hands and escort his attacker across town and into a federal building, or that the police would ever let them get that far?
The good news is that even though the final act and subsequent climax are a bit silly, they are still entertaining. Stupid, yes. Still entertaining.
Money Monster isn’t a great movie, but the performances of the cast and the fast-paced direction by Foster help gloss over many of its weaknesses. It’s entertaining through and through, and in the end, it’s an investment that pays dividends.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.