A film without much cents and sensibility

by Sinead O'Connor

A SLICK feature directed by Jodie Foster, Money Monster (Cert 15A, 98 mins) is a David and Goliath story, telling a story of the clash between the rich and the poor in America.
Income inequality is a hot topic, and last year’s The Big Short demonstrated that there is an appetite for usurping “the 1%” in the cinema.
Clooney stars as Lee, a garish stock guru who hosts the network TV show, Money Monster – an over-the-top weekly show where Lee tells viewers when and where to invest.
The show gets interrupted when a distressed viewer, Kyle (Jack O’Connell) storms the studio and holds the host at gunpoint.
After a computer glitch caused the stock he had invested in to plummet, Kyle suspects someone is to blame, and with nobody able to give him an answer, he’s been forced to pursue the most violent customer-care enquiry on record.
So the live-broadcasting episode of Money Monster becomes a life and death race to try to find out who is to blame.
While the bulk of the action takes place in the to-and-fro between Clooney and O’Connell, don’t expect much nuance – Clooney’s Lee is hammed up and glammed up; a schmaltzy coward who is always looking for an opportunity to squirm his way out of the situation.
O’Connell remains in a perma-spittled state of desperation, angrily trying to comprehend the enormity of the system that has made his cash disappear.
While both actors have produced great performances in their careers, the stand-off between the two plays out like a cinematic Punch And Judy show.
Lee’s ego consistently gets in the way of any sense of atonement, while Kyle’s blood pressure hits new peaks.
Some policing is done by Julia Roberts, who plays Lee’s producer, who stays in contact through his earpiece and attempts to be the diffusing voice of reason.
The saving grace of the outlandish film is that it has a sense of humour. The comic element becomes more pronounced as the pressure mounts and the scenario becomes increasingly convoluted, until the film transitions into an old-fashioned story of good guys and bad guys.
Money Monster may not be the confined thriller that the trailer might suggest, but it’s a cinematic slug-fest that might prove a nice distraction from financial woes.
Verdict: 6/10

Related Articles