Money Monster

 

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George Clooney stars as the presenter of a New York money programme who is held hostage on air after making a faulty financial forecast.

 

 Money Monster

 Money mad: Jack O'Connell and George Clooney

 

The title is hardly prepossessing. But ‘Money Monster’ is the name of a TV show fronted by Lee Gates (George Clooney), a lowest common denominator money programme that has its advocates in New York. One such viewer, Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), takes Lee’s words as gospel and invests his and his girlfriend’s entire savings of $60,000 on a tip endorsed by Gates. But there’s an anomaly – a glitch – in the system and the scheme goes belly-up, robbing investors of a shared total of $800 million. Budwell takes it personally. So personally, in fact, that he takes Lee Gates hostage on-air and kits him out with a vest stuffed with explosives. Improbably, he wants the anchorman to rectify the financial error…

 

Money Monster may have as much credit as Argentina but it’s enjoyable hokum well played. As Gates’ director, Patty Fenn, Julia Roberts contributes her customary steel and integrity as the world-class star she is, while Clooney is suitably goofy and unnerved as the self-centred, puffed-up anchorman who may actually have a heart beneath his Armani suits. Less successful is the Derby-born Jack O’Connell as the New Yoyk terrorist. Sadly, he lacks the edge and danger he contributed so effectively to the young offender he played in David Mackenzie’s numbing and uncompromising Starred Up. And his accent is a little loose. Another Brit, Dominic West, provides a one-dimensional impression of a corporate shark, leaving the Dublin-born Caitriona Balfe to make the next best impact as West’s faltering public face.

 

Jodie Foster’s direction is solid enough and there are enough kinks in the narrative to keep things interesting, although nothing ever really rings true. Still, as an addendum to The Big Short, it provides more insight into the intricacies and mysteries of big finance, and illustrates yet again that algorithms do, ultimately, have a human accountability.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Christopher Denham, Giancarlo Esposito, Condola Rashad, Lenny Venito, Emily Meade, Dennis Boutsikaris.

 

Dir Jodie Foster, Pro Lara Alameddine, George Clooney, Daniel Dubiecki and Grant Heslov, Screenplay Alan Di Fiore, Jim Kouf and Jamie Linden, Ph Matthew Libatique, Pro Des Kevin Thompson, Ed Matt Chesse, Music Dominic Lewis, Costumes Susan Lyall.

 

The Allegiance Theater/IM Global/Smoke House Pictures-Sony Pictures.

98 mins. USA. 2016. Rel: 27 May 2016. Cert. 15.