Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Jack O’Connell – Kyle Budwell
Julia Roberts – Patty Fenn
George Clooney – Lee Gates
Caitriona Balfe – Diane Lester
Dominic West – Walt Camby
Giancarlo Esposito – Captain Marcus Powell
Condola Rashad – Bree
Money Monster kept me very entertained throughout its time up on the big screen. I found it sharp and snappy, and fuelled with gripping tension. And as such, it’s made it into one of my top ‘Guilty Pleasures’. This movie is one of those rare gems that doesn’t get wound up in its own thick plot or character developments; on the contrary, it packs a punch by blasting the audience with the necessary elements:
– A-list cast (it could’ve used B or even C-list actors to be honest, the story would remain the same)
– Gripping plot / storyline (not massively intriguing, but held my attention enough to keep me off my phone whilst in the cinema. Yes, I am guilty of texting / Tindering whilst in the cinema)
– Tension: moments of “will he, won’t he” with Roberts exercising that classic wide-eyed, cod-like, droopy mouth facial expression of hers during the gun raising scenes. Kyle (O’Connell) waving a loaded gun around and even letting it off during quiet moments added a deliciously wicked air of tension.
– Comedy: unexpected moments of genuine laughs; an example being Kyle’s girlfriend who is called in by Police and aired on a live feed (into the studio) to talk sense into him, bring him round, calm him down..
…and instead appears on the giant TV screen in front of the world and screams her way through a speech of sheer abuse, labelling her boyfriend a “selfish son of a bitch” amongst other expletives. This scene had the audience howling with laughter. A brilliant and unexpected moment of comic relief.
– That classic low-budget high-value feel to it, where the production contains minimal effort but the story takes over anyway so you don’t really notice. Other examples of this I reckon would be movies such as Man on A Ledge (2011), Phone Booth (2002), or ironically, Panic Room (2002).
Money Monster is one of the most refreshing movies I’ve seen in quite a while, due to its concept. I.E. a man posing as a delivery boy (complete with box in arms and cute hat) sneaks into a television studio whilst a live programme is being recorded, and takes the presenter (and a few crew) hostage. It’s a story I haven’t seen before, hence the refreshing change from standard flicks that are currently being released. This element in itself scores top marks from me.
This movie’s only downfall was Clooney’s insufferable ability to remain swarve at all times; this completely ruins certain parts of Money Monster.
The first time Lee is faced with a live bomb, any chance of a tense atmosphere is shattered immediately by the actor’s swagger. Clooney – as always – is calm and collected. Oh he acts shocked at being faced with the explosive, but it’s not enough. The man is just too calm. You’d think Kyle just presented him with a box containing a single (harmless) mouse. No performance effort from Clooney at all here. He seemed to dilute the situation instead of heighten it.
One more moan about Clooney. (I’ve got nothing against the man, but he did seem to fuck up parts of this movie).
The pivotal moment Kyle appears from backstage and steps forth to wreak havoc doesn’t make much of an impact. And I really wanted it to.
Prior to Kyle’s entrance, Lee is fannying around on stage presenting his show. This sees Clooney strutting around with a daft look on his face, before bursting into full-blown dancing. This hip-wiggling, swaying movement was very animated and gave the movie a sudden air of comedy.
And then Kyle enters – carrying his ‘special’ delivery. This situation needed to have a tense build-up, or a gap between comic and dramatic but instead felt as though the terrorist was part of the fun happening on stage.
One of the best elements of Money Monster was its unexpected moments of comedy blended with moments of deadly tension; I absolutely loved how the producers – and indeed Ms. Foster – pulled it off. A prime example is the moment a studio cameraman is asked by the producer (Roberts) to shift his focus slightly because viewers can’t see Kyle properly. The terrorist then discovers what the man is doing and begins shifting around the stage, asking if he is in focus enough. The expression of absolute seriousness on Kyle’s face as he does this had the audience howling with laughter, a fantastic moment which broke the atmosphere nicely.
Roberts adds nicely to the cast as studio producer Patty. Let’s face it, the woman excels in everything she does with minimal effort, whether you’re a fan or not. Here in Money Monster she’s on par with O’Connell, reflecting his versatility by delivering funny moments amongst very serious ones. It makes for a great watch.
O’Connell is just superb in this movie. Gritted teeth and sweaty-faced facial expressions of anger and tension ensure a deliciously gripping build-up to its final climax. And with its easy-to-follow plot, dynamic casting and surprise distractions, Money Monster makest the perfect “I’ve got nothing to do this Saturday night and fancy sticking a film on” movie.
It is easy to digest, but probably just as easy to forget – because on the down side, it’s not one that contains a gripping plot that stays with you years later; it’s more of a ‘light bite’.