Money Monster marks Jodie Foster’s fourth directorial feature, this time opting for a star-studded satire of Wall Street and the ethics and conspiracies that lie behind it. George Clooney stars as the egocentric and garrulous Lee Gates who presents a stock based TV show Money Monster, telling his audience each day which stocks are their best bet. Julia Roberts stars opposite him as the grounded director of Money Monster, Petty Fenn, acting as Lee Gates’ conscious whilst live on air and throughout the duration of the film. When disgruntled investor Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) storms the studio and straps a bomb to Gates, however, it is up to him and the production team, led by Patty, to talk Budwell out of detonating the bomb. Not only would the explosion destroy life, but any chance of finding the truth behind shady company IBIS and their CEO Walt Camby’s (Dominic West) loss of $800 million in investors money.
Foster, Clooney and Roberts are bound to attract a wide audience, but it is British export Jack O’Connell who pulls in an audience of his own. Though he may not have the same calibre of filmography in comparison to his co-stars and director, he did star in the ever popular teen drama Skins, gaining a large fan base in his run on the show. Though O’Connell stars opposite two Oscar winning performers and is directed by another, he really holds his own makes a strong and believable false antagonist. However, this falsity also reaches his best efforts at an American accent.
Money Monster‘s narrative is well thought out, and though its twists are somewhat predictable, they still remain smart enough to have you shocked. Thrills aplenty, unfortunately the film just does not live up to the legacies of similar hostage films such as Panic Room — starring Foster herself — or 2001’s Phone Booth, both working tension into the narrative far better, causing you to feel a great combination of empathy and tension. On a personal note, my feelings here could be due to my viewing of the Money Monster‘s trailer, detailing far too many plot outcomes, and thus ruining the film.
Although mixed feelings towards the film are present within this review, I would still strongly recommend Money Monster on the condition that you avoid all publicity material prior. If you manage this, then Foster greatly demonstrates what a thriller should be.
Written by Heather Thornton