For a drama tackling financial woe, it came off more as a tame beast BUT still watchable, none the same.
Financial TV host Lee Gates (George Clooney) and his producer Patty (Julia Roberts) are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor (Jack O’Connell) takes over their studio.
I originally avoided this at the cinema. The trailers did nothing for me. After the dense but hard hitting arrival of The Big Short, I thought this was going to be a cheap rip off jumping on the band wagon.
BUT old Ma and Pa told Mr Over Critical to give it a go AND . . .
After 15 minutes, I was ready to switch it off. I know there are OTT financial shows like Money Monster in real life BUT watching Clooney strut around a news studio with a golden top hat to a bit of R ‘n’ B did nothing to win me over.
It tried to be like The Newsroom. The script desperate to deliver that quick pitter-patter that only Aaron Sorkin can master.
I know Clooney’s arrogant protagonist was supposed to be smug BUT I really didn’t like him.
Roberts was on the side lines far too much and a gag involving erectile dysfunction cream among the crew almost had me change the channel there and then.
It was all a little too disjointed. The film kept flicking back and forth to random places all over the world with no explanation. I was struggling to keep up.
However . . .
Once Jack O’Connell made his introduction, my interest was finally peaked and what ensued was a highly watchable and engaging little thriller.
I’m not the biggest fan of the Skins star. Don’t ask me why, there’s just something about him. BUT his performance was fantastic. He stole the show and once Lee (Clooney) realised the abuse of his own power, things really got going.
It was quite tense as he tried to negotiate with the volatile Kyle (O’Connell) on live TV. Clad in a vest of Semtex with the world watching. The questions piling up as the news team tried to seek out any information on their captor.
I was relieved when Roberts was brought into the fold. Working that Ocean’s Eleven magic with Clooney yet again.
It wasn’t long before we discovered that Kyle had lost all his money investing in the wrong company. All thanks to a certain TV show. BUT his anger wasn’t just at his own loss. It was at the very corporation who got away with it.
Millions of stockholder’s hard earned cash lost because of a ‘glitch’. No explanation. Nothing.
As the mystery unfolded, Lee faced a crisis of conscience (making Clooney a lot more tolerable and likeable). It was interesting how the tide changed from a single search for answers to a quest for justice.
The supporting cast delivered somewhat of a mixed bag.
Caitriona Balfe’s (Outlander) performance left a little to be desired. Her Irish/American twang didn’t help matters and I’m not sure whether it was the lines or her delivery BUT she made the character a lot flatter than she should have been.
A shame considering how instrumental her character became as the team discovered more than they bargained for.
Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito was completely wasted in his role as Captain Powell. Anyone could have played him. Emily Meade (NERVE) made more of an impression in those five minutes as Kyle’s pregnant girlfriend.
The dumbing down of the financial guff made it easily accessible and understandable BUT still tapped into that Big Short territory. The political speeches aimed at the big wigs were a little hammy in parts.
I say big wigs. The whole of Wall Street personified in the form of McNulty from The Wire. Sorry, Walt Camby. A greedy CEO with no S.O.U.L. Dominic West played the part of the sleazy exec well.
It may have been a little OTT as Lee brought the show right to the ruthless crook’s doorstep BUT it still hit home.
Raising valid points and questioning how these corporations could play with people’s money with such ease. No restrictions, no regulations. Shocking.
Despite a stuttering opener, Money Monster overcome its hurdles to deliver a satisfying and emotional finale as everything came to a head with a long awaited confrontation that pieced together all the disjointed scenes (That were bugging the hell out of me).
Worth a gander if you’ve got 90 minutes to kill.