Friday, 27 May 2016

Film: 'Money Monster'

Tense hostage drama directed by Jodie Foster, with some very effective nail-biting moments - and, importantly, at a commendably concise length of just 90 minutes or so.

New York. A flamboyant and wackily glitzy TV financial adviser (George Clooney) is interrupted on air during his live TV show, 'Money Monster', by a gunman from Queens (the young English actor, Jack O'Connell) who demands answers as to how his recent advice led to losses for himself and millions of others in their investment in a certain firm (its American boss is played by another Englishman, none other than hottie, Dominic West, whom I wasn't aware was in this film). The producer of Clooney's TV programme is Julia Roberts, directing cameras and instructing studio participants, but suddenly finding herself trying to regain control of the situation through telephone contacts with NYPD and others, whispering instructions to Clooney through an earpiece and, crucially, trying to find answers to the gunman's questions and hysterical demands. At the gunman's insistence, all the action is played out live on the screen, not only nationally but relayed worldwide.

Some reviews of this film haven't been especially endearing, in a could-have-been-better kind of way, but I'm not as down on it as some that I've read. It reminded me a lot of films of the 70s where a single, seemingly deranged, manic character holds an entire  city, or even a nation, in the palm of his hand by threats of gunshot or explosion if his demands aren't met.

For me the weakest point was, unfortunately, hostage-taker Jack O'Connell - who was really good a couple of years ago in the film '71, as a British army squaddie lost in an enemy Irish nationalist area of Belfast, In this present film I felt he lacked something of the hard-hitting, heavyweight on-screen presence which the role demands. (I read that Jodie foster herself at first wanted the part to be played by an older, American actor but was won over by O'Connell's audition).But he's up against three actors, each with huge charisma along with their physical presences,  and at least two of whom are celebrity giants. (Incidentally, Clooney and Roberts are hardly seen at all in the same camera shot - he being in the TV studio for most of the film while she's in the control room.).

I didn't follow all the financial explanations re the stock exchange and shares rising and collapsing due to unrest in South Africa, but that hardly mattered, I was fairly gripped throughout and certainly not at all bored at any time.
An hour-and-a-half very satisfactorily expended..................7.5.


  1. We're seeing this one this weekend. I like your review because it seems to be in line with others I've read.

    1. It's a goodie, Bob. See what you think of O'Connell. Some have described him as outstanding, so by comparison my view can be considered harsh.