Movie Review: “Money Monster” – A Tale of Corruption

Written by Caitlin Cooper May 26, 2016

Money Monster

Films exposing how corrupt our society can be are some of the most fascinating films around. They tell us stories, whether based taken from real events or not, that highlight the worst parts of our world today. Combine that kind of story with an intense and violent tone, and you have Money Monster. You’re in for a tension-filled film that tries to be honest about the reality of our world and money.

Directed by Jodie Foster, Money Monster is about stocks and investments, about media and big corporations. It’s about the great divide between the extremely wealthy and the ones who struggle to make ends meet. Lee Gates (George Clooney) is the host of a cheesy show offering investment advice. But Gates and his producer, Patty (Julia Roberts), get the shock of their lives when Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), an irate investor who lost all his savings, interrupts filming and holds Gates hostage. You see, he took Gates’ advice to invest in IBIS, and the company just mysteriously lost millions of dollars over night. But when the CEO is nowhere to be found, even Gates and Patty begin to question the money trail. With the help of Diane Lester (Caitriona Balfe), the IBIS communications officer, they set out to learn the truth and share it with the world.

“You care about money, not people.”

Money Monster gets a lot of things right. People dedicate their lives to making money, and we have to. That’s just the way our world is. But some people have it easier than others, and some of those people don’t really care about the ones who struggle. People say money can’t buy happiness, but the lack of money means a life of hardship and stress like what Kyle Budwell goes through. And it’s important to have savings. But investing is a whole other game, and there can be a lot of risk involved. It’s really all a game of chance, but people’s livelihoods are on the line. What happens when corrupt corporations or CEOs use the system in their favour instead of being honest businessmen? The rich get richer. The film argues all of this, and yet halfway through I wondered if what Kyle did was going to really accomplish anything. Would he get his money back (even though he claims he doesn’t want it back, which is unrealistic)? Would the CEO have to answer for his crimes and be sent to prison? Perhaps that’s the questions Money Monster should’ve been asking. The ending is kind of underwhelming, especially after such intense build-up. The story is important, but the message is a little muddled at the end. It was good to see Gates learn that he was living in a bubble, and he realizes that some people really rely on the advice he gives on his show. Kyle learns that Gates is only human, and he makes mistakes too. Diane realizes her boss is indeed a bad person, and she puts the truth above her job. Some parts of the plot seem awkward and out of place, though.

Money Monster

What helped Money Monster tell its story so well is its great cast. I confess that other than E.R. and Tomorrowland, I haven’t seen George Clooney in many things. But he plays the role of Gates very well, and his fear and anger is palpable. Julia Roberts is Julia Roberts. She’s a fantastic actress, and she brings her talent to the table here. She does dramatic roles well, like the unforgettable Erin BrockovichO’Connell delivers a strong performance as the desperate Kyle. You believe he’s been broken by what happened, though it doesn’t make his violence okay. Caitriona Balfe is best known for her ongoing role in Outlander, so it was interesting to see her taking on this film. This character is very different, but she plays Diane well. Her character is vital in helping find the truth about her boss, Walt Camby, and what happened to the money. At first, she’s concerned with doing her job despite the misogyny she faces, then she realizes the truth is more important than protecting a corrupt CEO.

“Do the math. You can’t find our boss and he can’t find 800 million.”

Money Monster is an important film about society, and how much money does in fact matter. But people matter more. The story is intense, and though the plot is slow, it doesn’t really feel that way. With a great cast, the story is told well. I wish the film had asked some more – or perhaps, different – questions at the end instead of ending on a rather out of place light-hearted note. But if nothing else, everyone should watch this movie; yes, it’ll entertain you, but it’ll also make you think.

My Rating: 7/10

Money Monster

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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