Money Monster is about a grandiloquent TV personality/Wall Street guru named Lee Gates (George Clooney) who finds himself and his crew taken hostage during a live broadcast by a disgruntled investor armed with a gun and a bomb named Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell). Kyle has just lost all of his life savings for following Lee’s previous tip of investing on a bullish company called IBIS, which unfortunately lost $800 million worth of investments, including Kyle’s, due to a glitch in its trading algorithm. With the help of his director Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) giving instructions to his earpiece, Lee must overcome his fear and rely on his talking skills to defuse the situation, save their lives, and uncover what really happened with IBIS.
This movie is a decent thriller. It’s not quite excellent, but it still provides solid tension and tells a moderately well-written story. It’s generally smart, though not as cerebral as I wanted it to be. It also has a genuinely intriguing message to tell, regardless of whether you buy it or not.
The strong performances essentially carry the occasionally wobbly narrative. George Clooney and Julia Roberts are veteran actors, so being compelling in their roles is something kind of expected already from them. Jack O’Connell, on the other hand, is someone I’m not familiar with prior to this movie, but he’s pretty good in this movie as well.
Among these three, I enjoyed seeing Julia the most. She used to be a very big deal back in the 90’s, but she doesn’t have much Hollywood presence these days. It has been a while since I last saw her in a movie (the most recent movie I saw that starred Julia prior to Money Monster was the 2006 animated film The Ant Bully – the most recent live-action one was 2004’s Ocean’s Twelve). In my opinion, she had the best performance in this movie.
All in all, Money Monster is sufficiently entertaining. But among this year’s films, it’s not something that will stand out. It’s nice seeing Julia Roberts again in a movie though.