This is a contemporary film that deserves to be seen. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, good.
Despite the great deal of attention paid to stars George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Director Jodie Foster, Money Monster stands on its own merit as a very entertaining film. While it doesn’t dance in the same acclaimed category as last year’s Oscar nominated The Big Short, Ms. Foster focuses her camera on the blue collar people who are left struggling in a ginned up free market system where politicians don’t seem to really care.
Here, George Clooney plays a flamboyant TV host who uses his entertaining form of propaganda to sell stocks, bonds and other securities. In a performance that should not be overlooked, Julia Roberts shines as Patty Fenn, Clooney’s producer. Though they are seldom on screen together, she shines as the one person in the entire film with a bit of common sense.
The film wraps itself around a plot where a stranger suddenly appears on camera and puts a gun to Clooney’s head. Forcing Clooney to wear a vest filled with explosives, he demands an explanation on how Clooney could advocate an investment where little people like himself lost a family inheritance.
Jack O’Connell will grab your heart playing Kyle Budwell, an angry young man who only seeks answers. He gives a powerful performance, and I can only remind you of his tremendous roles in both ‘71 (2014) and the fact that he made Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken (2014) watchable.
In the film itself, the fact that everyone’s life is in danger is not helped by the arrival of the New York Police Department. Nobody knows who to shoot to solve the problem, and in the process Clooney morphs from an arrogant prick into a sympathetic soul who suddenly believes that the haunted Mr. Budwell deserves some honest answers.
The strength of this film flows from the fact that it focuses on an immense problem in our country, namely that the very wealthy control a society where income inequality grows to a staggering level. You don’t have to read the fantastic book by Jane Mayer, “Dark Money”, to understand how we Americans are being exploited by billionaires protecting their fortunes.
In Money Monster, you see a TV personality making a living at the expense of the little guy. That is what makes this film so rewarding. Corporate executives are held accountable, and I loved this movie from beginning to end.
This is an adult film for adult people, and it is a credit to both Clooney and Roberts that they agreed to be its co-stars. Foster’s movie indirectly challenges billionaire fat cats who hide behind special interest groups that advocate for “limited government”. Without apologies, Money Monster provides a subtle vehicle to question any politician who screams against raising taxes on the wealthy while ignoring raising the minimum wage.