Enough suspense to make it worth the time but not enough substance to make it very memorable.
“MONEY MONSTER” stars George Clooney as the host of a financial television show that finds his life in danger when a young investor played by Jack O’Connell, who has lost everything, breaks into the studio during a live show with a bomb vest holding everyone inside hostage.
Directed by Jodie Foster, I had some high hopes for this film given the cast, as well as the interesting and somewhat relevant plot. For the most part this film gave me just about what I expected, but not much more. The performances were good all around, the story was relatively complete, but there were some flaws that prevented this film from reaching a level of being considered great.
George Clooney was very good. He displayed a range of emotions for a character, one pulled out of his comfort zone, yet he didn’t really do anything special. Clooney felt like he invested some energy into the performance and it, for the most part worked perfect for this story but he was still simply, George Clooney more than he was TV host Lee Gates.
Jack O’Connell was somewhat captivating in his performance. He really felt the part and in scenarios where it would be easy to over-act, he really sells the moments and delivered proper emotions to sell the motivation for his character. While he was the antagonist so to speak in the story, and was far from a likable character, he was not really unlikable either and there were moments where you could sympathize with his character. This to me, was more a result of O’Connell’s performance as opposed to the material he was working with.
Julia Roberts however, was extremely wasted in this film to me. What moments she had, did work very well in landing with the intended impact but for a name like Julia Roberts there was just not enough for her character to do in this movie. With some slight rewrites she could have been included a little more to let Roberts create her character, but with such limitations in the story, she was the best she could be.
The story was a serviceable one, it was quick paced, did keep my attention but it did feel like a rather neat and tidy script as a whole. There were some instances where things happened without explanations for the sake of convenience in the plot direction. They didn’t hinder the enjoyment but did tone down some of the tension, as they pulled my attention from the story, wondering, for example, how this young man can walk right into a television show during filming.
There is enough substance however to make this an enjoyable film to sit through. It doesn’t waste time, keeps the story going and keeps the subplots at a minimum. Jodie Fosters direction was very capable, but also on the ordinary side and while I did enjoy this film the re-watch value is low. But for a simple thriller that can hold your attention, “Money Monster” is not a bad choice. It will have you intrigued at times, connected to the characters, and surprisingly chuckling at times as well.
Time: 98 min
MPAA Rating: R (For language throughout, some sexuality and brief violence)