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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I simply cannot believe the positive reviews on this movie. It was in a word....terrible. The theme was important-that the (financial) system is "rigged" and perhaps that was what attracted a big name like George Clooney to it. I think the only redeeming quality of the movie was George Clooneys acting, which he seems to do so effortlessly.
But the execution of this movie was laughable. There are simply too many ridiculous and non believable actions by humans in this movie to list here, and I've forgotten more ridiculous things than I have remembered. But, it ruined the movie.
First, the obvious one that has been mentioned before. There is simply NO WAY a producer would decide to keep a hostage taker live on the air like the way she did. The hostage taker was obviously an idiot with no understanding of the technicalities of a TV show production, and would have not known whether he was live on the air or not. The movie lost most of its credibility within a very short time after it began because of this.
A few things other things that I do remember were especially comical. The movie seemed to be written by someone who has ZERO understanding of the financial markets/investment industry. That would be OK, except that the whole movie was focused on this industry. The fact that the writers/director didn't care to do their homework is representative of the laziness and lack of detail that you see over and over again in this film. For instance, the term "algo" was used countless times with seemingly no understanding of what an algo does or its potential ability to move a stock price for an extended period of time (and none of the people who were supposedly in the investment industry seemed to know in the movie either).
So many math problems too! The hostage taker in the movie supposedly bought the stock of IBIS Pharma at $75/share (mentioned by Clooney), and the companys stock price during the hostage taking (after an "algo attack") dropped it $8/share where is was during the film. Clooney mentioned that the hostage taker lost 60% on the stock, but this would have been an almost 90% drop. The hostage taker said he "lost $60K" with the stock drop, and at a later time the detectives learned that the hostage taker had gotten $60K exactly from his mother which he put all in this stock. Well, he would have then lost 60% or 90% of the $60K right? And he only would have lost that money if he had actually sold the stock, but based on what happened in the movie (when Clooney was trying to get the public to buy the stock to make him whole again) he was still holding the stock. Also, Clooney said he wanted to "triple" the stock to make the hostage taker whole but really that would have only gotten the stock back into the $20's, far from where he he bought the stock at $75K. The lack of attention to detail drove this viewer crazy!
There was a mention in the movie that the company in the middle of the whole controversy "had all of its pensions depleted", as if the stock price of this specific company had any affect on the value of its pensions (which would be diversified in any corporation into bonds/stocks, etc, NOT invested solely in its own company stock!). Furthermore it seemed to be the case that IBIS's OWN algo was responsible was its stock price dipping 90%, as if IBIS would be in the business of controlling its own stock with an algo, which is highly illegal (and impossible for an extended period of time). No one in the industry seemed to think this was an usual thing. Later in the movie there was some Asian genius that appeared for a minute that seemed to know all about the algo, and made some seemingly profound statement like "its just math" and said there was no way an algo could be completely responsible for dropping a stock price 90% for an extended period of time. He said this as if 100% of the people in the investment industry would not have known this already.
You also had a hostage taker walking the streets of NY with a gun and a bomb and a hostage, and the NYPD seemed to think it was OK to allow pedestrians withing spitting distance from the man, and when the man opened fire on the crowd, the police said "dont shoot" (at the hostage taker)? Are you kidding me?
It was an F.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT!!!! Part of the appeal of this sort of a movie is
to see the REAL bad guy get his comeuppance. The real bad guy was of
course - Gates. Even more so than Camby and certainly not Kyle (he's
just a whiny "Never been told I'm wrong" Y-Gen loser) Gates is a ring
master at a freak show. The decadence of Wall Street and reality TV
show meets game show of the Money Monster is atrocious. I needed the
climax to be that Camby was exposed but it all got watered down and the
consolation prize to our emotions was to see Kyle gunned down. It
cheated me - not Kyle.
The movie was OK but Clooney - I dunno. He's not an action star, not a comedian, what the hell is he? For me the most overrated actor in a generation. Speaking of overrated - Ms Roberts takes the cake. So the choice was more about box office appeal than substance.
I'm sure the NYPD would have plenty to say about the way police procedures were portrayed. While I'm watching it I'm thinking 'it's just a movie. It was so 'staged'. Zero character development. Zero empathy for anyone other than maybe Kyle (a bit) and what the hell was that scene with the girlfriend?? Was it comedy relief? They would have cut her off with the first sentence. That, by the way, would have been more artistic and funnier.
I'd have liked the relationship between Clooney and Roberts to have mirrored Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Whozis from "The Abyss" but that would have taken time this film didn't seem to have.
Love you Jodie - maybe better next time. This was average at best and tragically, could have been better.
Considering this is a pretty intense movie about a desperate guy threatening to shoot and blow up people, this movie had moments of unexpected humour. The whole cinema was laughing at various points. Which was very cleverly done by director, Jodie Foster. The movie is well scripted and well acted. Clooney and Roberts clearly enjoy working together (just don't remind me of Ocean's 12). I agree with the other reviewer who said the movie should have just stopped with the return to the foosball table, and not gone for the schmaltzy hospital scene. Not the greatest movie of the year and not Oscar-worthy, but well worth the price of the movie ticket. Can't understand why it's only got a rating of 6.8 on IMDb.
The story is SO VERY familiar , so many similar stories have been done before, often as a success, this is far from that.SO not one to remember fondly. Other than being so slow and ultimately very predictable, acting from most of the lead actors overall is at best okay, some scenes were actually unintentionally silly, But the support actors especially the studio crews, the cameramen etc. were all totally so unbelievable, so limp. The police pathetic SO this meant no surprises, no wow, no make us think , no interesting scenes , even if good at start of scene, was to often leaving me with a feeling of emptiness, did I fall asleep, blink to long ,as no punchlines , no drama, no fear, a waste of a good moment, a waste of a good point etc. , no drama, no emotion , no anything. What may of seemed a good idea to someone, shows how even a group of people so experienced and more than qualified took the money and went on holiday, not for a rest, as they all did that , very well already. This seems like a low budget 70s T.V movie. waste of money and actors time..AND MINE. Director must of been on holiday while filming as got nothing out of story or actors, so nothing to give us the fans.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The premise of this movie could have been a lot better thought out and
a lot more logical or realistic. For a George Clooney film, this should
have been a lot better. Anyone with any common sense as far as the
police handling a live hostage situation. As soon as the NYPD allowed
the girlfriend to go on TV only to call him stupid, dumb, etc. I
watched the movie in the background.
And the horrible humor parts of this movie, c'mon, it was so out in left field it just made this movie more of a joke, until you hear that the NYPD is planning to shoot the hostage in order to unarm a bomb vest and eh...don't waste your time.
This is one of few real time films -meaning the flow of events matches
the duration of the film- that is quite successful in keeping the
viewer's attention all along, and Jodie Foster is very efficient as a
director presenting what seems initially a daunting technical subject
(how a computer "glitch" causes an 800 Million Dollar loss to
shareholders in a public traded company) as a dramatic thriller that
never looses pace.
The cast is excellent, Julia Roberts as the ever conscious producer calculating how each camera angle is best to follow on the unfolding live drama, George Clooney in one of his finest roles as the careless theatrical advice giver of the money program who gradually comes to realize how damaging his show is to the masses (in one particular touching scene he is in the street in NY and sees on-lookers imitating his dance moves on the show, and he becomes aware of what a buffoon he is), and finally Jack O'Connel who is very convincing as the candid investor who really wants to know how "the system" works (casting him was an inspired choice, he is not a well-known actor so he adds more credibility to the character he plays, a simple man from the street who looses all his money in Wall Street). None of the main or even secondary characters in the film are one dimensional, they have their problems (like lonely dinners for some) and concerns and values, whether it is the camera man or the public relations lady officer reporting to the big CEO, or even the main police officers in charge, all are multi-dimensional characters and their human aspects are not ignored.
Even though the film deals with a serious subject, an eye opener leading one to wonder about the real money monsters out there, it remains an excellent thriller with top class actors.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Directed by Jodie Foster, "Money Monster" rehashes the cliché film
dramatization of Wall Street fraud and the commonplace Americans who
are the big losers in a tycoon's greed.
George Clooney and Julia Roberts have good chemistry as the star television talking head Lee Gates and his hard-working producer Patty Fenn. The simplistic story is that of a "hostage drama" when Gates is held captive in the studio by a crazed investor who has lost his fortune due to a Wall Street scammer and the advice given over the air by Gates. The plot unfolds with Gates and Fenn actually bonding with the terrorist to get to the bottom of malfeasance on the part of the CEO of a company called IBIS.
With the primary setting a television broadcast studio, this film might have worked better as a made-for-TV movie, as opposed to a feature film. Most of the action was predictable, and much of it was also unbelievable. The relationship of the young terrorist and his wife was entirely unconvincing. And the inaction on the part of the SWAT team, who had successfully surrounded the terrorist both in the studio and outdoors, was equally improbable.
In the end, "Money Monster" was a formula film that should not provide any surprises to viewers. The only cliché that was missing from the film was a slow crawl across the screen that reads, "Based on a True Story."
The causes of the global financial crisis of 2008-2010 and the mechanisms that speculators use are complicated and thus not easily packaged into a 90-minute movie. But movies such as "Margin Call", "Arbitrage", "Wall Street" and especially the documentary "Inside Job" do a much better job of explaining them than "Money Monster". Producer- actor George Clooney is known for his anti-establishment movies, and ones such as "Ides of March" are excellent. But on this occasion he and director Jodie Foster try to do too much: denunciation of Wall Street, financial markets, crooked bankers and the news media. Clooney's character is akin to that of well-known financial network program hosts, and thus not original. His banter with Robert's character is at times funny and in my view only saving grace of "Money Monster". But many parts of the plot are a stretch: lack of security at a major financial news network and police restraint. The corrupt banker's investment is in the same sector as in "Arbitrage". Globalization has many discontents. Movies and the media should be cautious about coming close to justifying violent reactions, especially as copycat behavior has been proved.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Money Monster" begins brilliantly. The opening scenes set in a
television studio seem authentic on a very detailed level. The pace is
frantic and various characters and subplots are introduced organically.
The direction is assured, acting is superb and production values are
excellent. The first act offers every assurance this will be a
compelling drama, if not an instant classic.
But then it loses momentum. The hostage/revenge plot is too boneheaded to maintain interest for long and the underlying defalcation makes no sense at all. An average Joe invests $60M in the stock of a company that loses $800MM in a single day, causing its stock to lose about 85% of its value. The guy then complains that he's lost everything he had. Granted, he took a huge beating, but he should still have stock worth about $10M, unless he purchased on margin, but we don't know. Then we learn the company has a fleet of corporate jets, at least one of which is a Lear Jet 85 with a base sticker price of $20.8MM. If the company is large enough to have perhaps $75-150MM invested in jets, one wouldn't expect even a $800MM loss to have such a devastating effect. But why is this average Joe buying equity shares? Wouldn't he ordinarily invest in some investment fund or pool managed by the company? There is another scheme to artificially depress another company's stock in order to earn billions on the defalcated $800MM. But for this to work, that company would need to lose about 75% of its market value and then rebound. The mechanics, timing and scale make no sense at all and there is no way the villain could expect to pull it off without getting caught. He would have done better trying to smuggle cocaine on his Lear. But DeLorean already tried something like that and it didn't turn out well.
But maybe it doesn't need to make sense. After all the recent financial scandals, the burst of the housing bubble, Greece, Brexit, the precarious state of pension funds and the imminent bankruptcy of the Social Security trust fund, perhaps movie audiences don't need much evidence to assume some slick financial type is a villain.
At one point, Clooney's Gates character tells the villain that his scheme isn't complicated. That's the problem. The plot needs a brilliant scheme that requires Gates's unique skills and efforts to unravel. Instead, it is a rather obvious plot that Roberts's Fenn unravels behind the scenes with the assistance of a character turned whistle-blower for reasons that aren't explored sufficiently to make them credible, with the assistance of a group of hackers who are able to find an obscure bit of evidence on a surveillance camera that would be zoomed in at nothing but an empty patch of ground if a couple of people hadn't decided to frame themselves perfectly while one of them incriminated himself.
The police involvement seems authentic initially, but stretches credibility during a bizarre sort of chase scene and culminates in an inexplicable act of violence against an individual who has gained widespread sympathy while recorded on live television.
The story would have been stronger if the average Joe had invested money that he had earned and saved, rather than life insurance proceeds perhaps an accumulated pension from working at a company for a long time and then being laid off due to economic circumstances.
The taste of death moment seems contrived.
Gates lacks a character arc. He recommended an investment that turned sour in part because an executive at the company proved to be disreputable and in part because nobody seems to know what the company actually does, other than deliver impressive profits. It turns out that the company doesn't know what they do either, as their much- touted trading algorithm was actually developed by a Korean programmer. In the final scene, Gates asks Fenn what they will do for the next program and neither one knows. His question may have been intended as humorous, as in how to top the drama of that day's events, but also reveals that he hasn't learned anything. He made a poor choice that cost the investors who relied upon his advice a lot of money. Tomorrow, he needs to make another recommendation, but he hasn't learned anything to guide him. Despite various implications that the system is rigged against the little guy, everything Gates has learned only applies to this one company. He was fooled and the public was defrauded. But nothing has happened to provide the public with better protection or to enable Gates to make better choices.
If not a stylist in the slightest, Jodie Foster is a very smart lady
and a capable director with a keen flair for tone. Both funny and
utterly pessimistic, Money Monster brings welcome memories of
(admittedly better) movies like Network, and there are much worse
associations than this one. Presenting the alliance of computer trading
and cable television as a weapon of mass destruction, of value as well
as lives, Mrs Foster packs up a convincing case, if not escaping all
traps of such a complex subject having to be laid out and resolved in
138 minutes, which by the way breeze by as if they were 98, one of the
best possible compliments for a movie in our age of bloated freak
The Ibis corporation took a plunge of 800 M$ after a "glitch" affected its high-speed trading, this mere weeks after Lee Gates, star anchor of the Money Monster cable program, has deemed its share safer than any life insurance policy. Kyle Budwell (Jack O'Connell), one of the 99%, having lost everything, breaks in the TV studio, takes Gates hostage, put an explosive vest on him and asks for answers. They prove difficult to get, as Ibis' CEO has vanished. Gates can only rely on himself, and on Patty Fenn, the studio director (Julia Roberts).
It is not useless to underline that the ibis is the animal form of the Egyptian God of Knowledge, due to its ability to make the difference between drinkable and corrupt water, a form of wisdom which all concerned are deprived of, intoxicated as they are with the promise of money acquired faster than the speed of light, thanks to inscrutable algorithms in a world shrunk to a few stock exchange places. Greed, once heralded as good, is still the same, though, and for lack of a better word, greed is a bulimic monster that cannot be satiated.
There is a measure of squeamishness in having close friends Clooney and Roberts sharing top billing. Both are consummate professionals, but it is hard not to think once or twice during Money Monster that they are not stretching their acting chops to a dangerous extent in it. Clooney is his usual jerk with a heart of gold and easy empathy to his fellow humans, whatever disturbed they are, and Roberts is her trademark strong woman whose inner vulnerability allow her to act noble instead of curt. They make the show, however, since the other actors are something of a white noise, except Emily Meade as Molly, the hostage taker's girlfriend, who is brought on the air to mollify him and has one excellent, enraged scene.
Money Monster wears its ideas on its sleeve, but they are treated without naivety. On one hand Mrs Foster is obviously sympathetic to the "Occupy Wall Street" movement and clearly thinks that unregulated finance is the enemy. If something catastrophic occurs, blame it on computer programming, on Europe, on the ways of the world. Never blame yourself for your mistakes regarding others as long as you make a load out of them. Last time one checked, this was the 21st century definition of capitalism, a battle of financial kaijus eradicating industrial sectors or countries alike. On the other hand, her movie is pessimistic as hell regarding the ability of the common man to make any change to this current state of affairs. There are a couple of chilling moments towards the end of the movie, one an enthusiastic flash mob marching in support of Kyle Budwell, only to vanish like a flock of sheep as a gun is fired, the other the immediate loss of interest for whatever the same had to say when his fate is sealed. Case closed, let's have a commercial break. "What kind of program will we have tomorrow?" ask Lee Gates to Penny, whom Drama Day has obviously brought together (again).
Ending up in memes and tweets like most things do whenever they start nowadays, Money Monster sums up in a rather tight bundle a sizable portion of what is going wrong in our wretched century, bringing short attention span disorder in the realm of terminal illness. We don't have enough memory to process everything happening at the speed it is happening. Our short bursts of indignation are followed by long bouts of complacency. If money has always been the root of evil, it is now a very modern and capable monster indeed.
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