Money Monster: High-Stakes Thriller Told in Real Time

Julia Roberts plays Patty Fenn and George Clooney plays Lee Gates in TriStar Pictures' MONEY MONSTER.

Money Monster isn’t the type of film that will win accolades but it is just enough to keep audiences on the edge of their seat.

This is a film that tells its story in real time, from the moment that Money Monster host Lee Gates (George Clooney) is prepping for that day’s show with producer Patty Fenn (Julia Gates). Clooney plays the financial television host as an exaggerated version of Jim Cramer. I would imagine that Cramer would never dance in this way on his show. No, Gates’ personality is all the creation of George Clooney. The dancing is not even in the script.

Everything is going well for that day’s taping until a disgruntled investor, Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), shows up on set and hijacks their studio. Millions watch live across the globe as the stand-off becomes tense. Racing against a clock, Lee and Patty have to try and get to the bottom of why Ibis Clear Capital’s stock took a deep dive and lost millions.

Lee evolves as a character throughout the film. Early on, people will probably see him as somebody who is shallow. He might be successful at work but he’s a failure in the eyes of many, including his own. And yet, he must rise to the occasion, grow up, and change while Kyle threatens not just his life but that of his colleagues. Lee’s only saving grace is the fact that an ear piece also keeps him communication with Patty in the control room. If not for Patty, it could be much worse.

Kyle lost $60,000 worth of investments and just wants to hold somebody accountable for losing his money. He just manages to pick the wrong person to take responsibility for the matter. Lee and Patty certainly feel moved by Kyle and actually do some real journalism on the job. It certainly takes some work to find out where the missing money went. Listen, it is very easy to see Kyle as a villain with his antics but all he wants is answers. The real villain is Walt Camby (Dominic West), the CEO of Ibis Clear Capital. Of course, Kyle could certainly have used different tactics in holding someone accountable for their actions.

Diane Lester (Caitriona Balfe) is the Chief Communications Officer of Ibis Clear Capital. She was supposed to be interviewed on the day that Kyle took over the studio. Once she realized the gravity of the situation, she did some investigating of her own. It puts her at odds with some of her colleagues but it shows that she’s a better person that Walt Camby ever will be.

Friends in real life, Clooney and Roberts’ chemistry shows on screen. While other actors have to work at displaying chemistry on screen, it comes natural for these two. Unlike other films, they are separated by the control booth windows.

With global markets that are fast-paced, Money Monster is sure to resonate with viewers everywhere.

DIRECTOR: Jodie Foster
SCREENWRITERS: Jamie Linden and Alan DiFiore & Jim Kouf
CAST: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Denham, Lenny Venito, Chris Bauer, Dennis Boutsikaris, Emily Meade, Condola Rashad, Aaron Yoo

TriStar released Money Monster in theaters on May 13, 2016. Grade: 3.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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