In the real-time, high stakes thriller Money Monster, George Clooney and Julia Roberts star as financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty, who are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor who has lost everything (Jack O'Connell) forcefully takes over their studio. During a tense standoff broadcast to millions on live TV, Lee and Patty must work furiously against the clock to unravel the mystery behind a conspiracy at the heart of today's fast-paced, high-tech global markets.Written by
Sony Pictures Entertainment
After Kyle finishes the conversation with Diane Lester via TV, he is clearly releasing his left thumb holding the "dead man's switch", making the red button clearly go up, which should have detonated the explosives. See more »
Okay, here we go. Are you listening? Are you paying attention out there? Good. Because it's about to get complicated, so I'm gonna start out slow and make it nice and simple for you. You don't have a *clue* where your money is. See, once upon a time, you could walk into your bank, and they'd open a vault and point to a gold brick. Not anymore. Your money - that thing that you bust your ass for - it's nothing more than a few photons of energy traveling through a massive network of ...
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Despite a failure to realize its full potential and become something like this decade's "Inside Man", which ironically Jodie Foster stars in and from which the film clearly takes a page or two, "Money Monster"is a fine thriller that doesn't run too low on adrenaline or surprise and even manages to squeeze in some genuine commentary and emotion.
What the film has to be commended for is for not presenting an easy way out of things. It presents an enormous amount of ideas and moralities and doesn't cheapen things to black and white. The fact is that this variety and complexity of points of views isn't brought to the screen in the most organic way. If you compare every story beat to a brick in a wall I'd say the wall stands up overall because of a major presence of strong bricks in it, but it is repeatedly undermined by the lesser, but notable percentage of weaker beats.
Many times when you think the film has finally won you over, in comes something, an out of place action or a character, that really takes you out of the groove. Yet, also the exact opposite is true: for every time I thought the movie just did something that it wouldn't be able to recover from, in came a new twist that sparked my interest again. What it ultimately comes down to is the fact that the screenplay always keeps giving some new challenge to the characters or the audience, it is relentlessly paced and so despite the fact that some don't work, the majority do and it is always fresh enough for the viewer to put aside what is not working and focus on the interesting parts.
Talking about the parts that don't work, I noticed the film does a little too much spoon feeding to the audience. Sometimes situations aren't given a chance to breathe and make the editing do the storytelling and we are fed exposition by characters or the characters themselves overcome an obstacle or further the story by coincidence and you aren't really sold on why some of the stuff that's happening is happening. That's the inherent problem of the film, which it never overcomes, you are never 100% free of doubt or hesitation on character motivation or plot developments and that deeply undermines the overall structure of the thriller. All the problematic parts arise because of a lack of subtlety in them.
That is frustrating when you consider the fact that there is a lot subtlety in the film which works and which ultimately makes this a good ride. When it is not preaching to you the film really has it, characters, performances, Jack O'Connel is really great in this, cinematography, script, these elements are all in good place. As I said before, the majority of the moral issues that are presented to you work because they are all in the subtext of what is going on, those parts make for a thrilling watch, it's when it got too on the nose that it really bothered me.
I loved the setup, the cast, the conversation it brought up, the tight pace, I just wish it could have trusted the audience a little more and focused on less fancy material at times to bring a more complete film together.
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