Money Monster arrives amidst a groundswell of anger towards corporate greed and economic fraud in America. It’s a timely film that benefits from its social relevancy, but cannot sharpen its message to truly resonate with its audience on the same wavelength as similar films in recent years, like The Big Short.
Directed by Jodie Foster and written by Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore and Jim Kouf, Money Monster focuses on a television show of the same name led by financial guru personality Lee Gates (George Clooney) and its adept director Patty (Julia Roberts). The studio is taken hostage by Kyle (Jack O’Connell), a viewer made bankrupt after Lee advised on a bad investment. Armed and antagonised, Kyle demands answers live-on-air from the corporation that lost his life savings.
Foster’s command is solid, building a fair amount of tension, but she can’t add much depth to an already thinly-spun screenplay. Character motivations mostly strain believability, only prompting a series of plot contrivances which dilute the film’s sense of realism. There’s an interesting nod to the ambiguity of criminal perception regarding wealth and power, but it’s momentary. Money Monster seems more concerned for the participants and bystanders of its story than its victims.