Starring George Clooney, Jack O’Connell, Julia Roberts, Caitriona Balfe, Lenny Venito, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Denham & Dominic West
Directed by Jodie Foster
A total change of pace from my usual pontification. The film reviewer glasses have been removed and in their place are the “I need to get the fudge out of my house” glasses. Why the redirection in attitude, might you ask? Simply because the mixed reviews for Money Monster had already come in, so expecting the world was a cause for disappointment.
Then the damn thing turned out to be rather good. When a film exceeds all expectations it is the best cinema experience possible. Sure, it’s no world beater. It’ll make its money back and all involved will move on, but it has some not-so-subtle social commentary that viewers should spare at least a moment before moving onto their next date night.
Without unequivocally taking digs at those in suits who run the circus, Money Monster reinforces what we all know. It’s a poker game, foreordained by those most invested and bankrolled by the pigeons invited to the table. That’s the difference between Kyle Budwell and Walt Camby. The little guy is not supposed to win. It’s a form of class warfare, money is the deciding factor and Lee Gates is an unwilling advocate, in due to his benefit. Tell them it’s advantageous, get them to participate and here are some dollars for your troubles. See the common trend? It’s unobtrusive, but it’s there.
Unfortunately the themes and execution are a haphazard mesh. Money Monster never reaches the dramatic apex it hopes to attain. There’s a ceaseless tension throughout, which is kept from becoming imperious by the film’s humour. While the comedy is quality it undermines the film itself. Money Monster resolves on a smile and a querying of tomorrow’s events like the last ninety minutes never occurred. I really did like this film, but that moment was criminal.
It highlights a distinct lack of interpersonal character development. Subplots of microscopic size are affixed but the film walks on without resolve. It was dissatisfying that a film with such emotional promise had to settle for less. Add another thirty minutes and it’s a slow mover but far more appeasing to watch.
My experience with Money Monster is akin to Kyle’s endeavour to find identity through financial independence. We both expected more, we were short-changed (to put his quandary lightly) and neither of us were satisfied. However it is apples and oranges and I’m sure as hell not about to attempt to correct things by means of force, but it helps me sympathise with this duel antagonist / protagonist. I can see Kyle’s story mirrored in the creation of this film. That hardest task present was not just excusing his actions but giving you grounds for support. For all the shortcomings of both Kyle and this film, it succeeded.