Hollywood heavyweights Jodie Foster, George Clooney and Julia Roberts join forces – Foster as director, Clooney and Roberts as stars – for Money Monster, a darkly comic thriller that seeks to uncork the rage of the many against the privileged few.
Clooney’s Lee Gates is the brash host of a cable TV finance show, peddling stock market tips to the masses with brazen razzamatazz; Roberts is his often peeved but always imperturbable producer.
Unfortunately, one of Lee’s hot tips has just plummeted in value, prompting a disgruntled blue-collar investor Kyle Budwell (played by rising British star Jack O’Connell) to burst into the studio and take Lee hostage live on air.
With the ensuing crisis playing out in real time, you would expect this set-up to yield gripping suspense. The volatile Kyle shoots out TV monitors; Lee is forced to don an explosive vest; and SWAT snipers wriggle into position, trigger-fingers itching.
Yet the drama in Money Monster proves surprisingly tepid. Dominic West’s slick CEO, boss of the high-tech company whose stock has slumped, is too easily fingered as the villain of the piece, which lets Clooney’s pundit off the hook and blunts the film’s polemical thrust.
Watch The Big Short, instead, if you want a movie that directs real satiric anger against the system that produced the financial crash, and seek out Dog Day Afternoon or Network if you’re looking for live on TV thrills.
Certificate 15. Runtime 99 mins. Director Jodie Foster