Money Monster movie full length review - As Relevant as it is Scattered
Are you listening? It's about to get complicated. No, I'm serious, I'm talking complicated as in both theme and quality.
Money Monster, directed by two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster, looks at the television series of the same name that dedicates itself to stock investment in the form of entertainment. Tens of millions of investors are tuned in to the broadcast, which famously features a big red button that makes sound effects while playing funny videos. The host of the program, Lee Gates (George Clooney) commands the screen with the mindset of money over people. In today's broadcast, his topic of interest will be the ever-rising stock of Money Monster's company, known as IBIS. Throughout the broadcast, Lee must depend on director/producer Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) as his only mode of conscious in the busy environment. At first, everything seems to be going as planned, until an unexpected guest comes in with a package. He sporadically pulls a gun out and forces the camera crew to stay on the air or else the host gets it. With a bomb vest now strapped around Lee, and the trigger to the bomb under the terrorist's control, he directs the people watching about how the corporation's stock of 800 million will be taken out by him, in an attempt to proclaim a harsh statement to the viewers about the truth surrounding their supposedly safe investment. ? Now, I don't watch the news or television nearly as much as anyone else. I couldn't even tell you anything from the last season of Game of Thrones. The only time I would run to the television screen is for a presidential debate. And you know what? Maybe Money Monster has convinced me that I am doing the right thing (I could also be referring to those embarrassing presidential debates that Fox turned into a game show, but that's beside the point). Foster's newest feature gives a strongly relevant anti-capitalist message for a time when technology makes the overthrowing of major corporations possible; although two crucial things are still missing: structure and commitment.
The screenwriters Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore, and Jim Kouf did have all the right ideas to communicate. They compare money to photons of energy and people to investments, specifically in how television enables the government to steal money and spend it carelessly. It's all true and relevant, not counting the challenge I had in receiving the message. Why's that? I'm glad you asked! Little storytelling opportunities are used with the limitless possibilities of its real- time narrative. There are several subplots that contribute to the ensemble piece feel that Foster went for, except without any structure or unity. There's also no decent arcs on any of the flatly written characters.
The acting from an otherwise promising cast creates another obstacle between the message and the viewer. With names like George Clooney and Julia Roberts, you'd think that Money Monster would result in a phenomenal character study that commands the screen. Think again. Rather, these two washed-up Hollywood names draw back on tension that would have otherwise left you leaning on edge. George by now has lost his mojo as an actor as he plays the usual hectic businessman who disrespects everyone, just like every other role Clooney has ever played. Julia doesn't have any enthusiasm either, as if she no longer gives a hoot about restoring her career (don't believe me? Watch Mother's Day). The terrorist played by Jack O'Connell cashes it in as well, considering it was nearly impossible for me to make out his words on top of his screaming.
Yet the biggest blame of the message getting lost under the gaping flaws goes to the director herself, Jodie Foster. Most of her resume in directing has been with television programs such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Now she has created a feature of similar genre and subject matter that sparks back to the old approach on these political thrillers of the 1970's-1980's that general audiences could understand. Some good efforts were made with a cool overall green tone to the news room and a tense techno soundtrack, and the tension does redeem itself by the third act, but Foster does not do enough to acutely express her beliefs on the media.
Now, I ought to applaud Foster for her efforts, as these types of movies absolutely need to be made to warn us the dangers of giving ourselves into corporations who are merely after our money. She has the right of mind in telling us how we are responsible for their financial success, and that we ought to start thinking about our investments for once. We especially need to keep this in mind be it Donald Trump wins the presidential election, or Clinton, or Sanders. But honestly, if you want to see this same type of message done right, watch Network, a satire on the whoring that television has become, or The Big Short, a recent commentary on the corruption of modern-day banking. With Money Monster, you mostly think to yourself as you're watching it, "what could I have done differently if I sat in the director's chair?" It may not be the wake-up call we need right now, but with more searching as to what's available, you will surely find the perfect satire on America's money monsters. ? Overall Grade: C-