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Review: Money Monster

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Jack O Connell and George Clooney star in TriStar Pictures' MONEY MONSTER

When it comes to being behind movies that are being released to the masses, I’ve been one of George Clooney’s biggest critics. The films produced by him are usually awful and are based on things that rarely capture the imagination of the public. So when Money Monster was put out, it’s obvious that my hopes weren’t too high, but I decided to watch anyway. And I’m glad I did.

Host Lee Gates (George Clooney) and director Patty (Julia Roberts) find themselves in the middle of a potentially deadly situation when an armed man (Jack O’Connell) takes over their TV show after a bad investment that cost him everything. During the stand-off, Lee and Patty know they need to work together along with the rest of the staff to solve this issue and answer potentially explosive questions that may expose a conspiracy that no one expected.

As it turns out, Money Monster is an exceptional feature film that happens to be well-written. To me, there’s no debating that. In my opinion, the writing is also probably the key to the film’s success more than anything else. That’s not to say that this doesn’t benefit from other aspects, but writing may get the first nod when it comes to what makes this entertaining.

For a dramatic thriller, you’ll find that Money Monster is also a movie that proves to be pretty energetic. Right from the start, we’re introduced to the well-developed characters who are being asked to carry the film. And at almost the same time, we’re introduced to the plot. Along with their motivations, these factors set it all in motion. It’s also nice that there is very little downtime during the 98 minute run-time.

I could easily see this being a film that could have been too frenetic or even too slow if it was handled by the wrong person. However, it seems to have been given to a director who fit the project properly. I don’t know too much about Jodie Foster in this role, but she does a fine job here in being able to keep the spotlight on what needs to be at the center of the entire film. As we all know, that’s difficult for some directors to do.

One of the only things that stops me from giving Money Monster an even better score is that I wasn’t as fond of the ending as I wanted to be. While I didn’t hate it, the primary conflict is tied up too cleanly, kind of cheaply and far too easy. With how smart this movie is, I would have appreciated a more complicated conclusion that was also believable. Based on what I saw here, I’m sure that was a possible task to accomplish.

There are also a couple of occasions where they ask a character or two to be dumb in order to move the film forward. These scenes and scenarios are kind of implausible, so they do bother me when they happen. These additions are a bit of a letdown to me as well. It doesn’t take away from the movie completely, but it I also can’t excuse it either.

It’s rare to see a George Clooney produced movie actually be worth talking about in a positive light. It’s even more rare to see one that I would recommend. While it isn’t perfect, Money Monster is probably the first movie produced by him that I do suggest that people see. It’s not only counter programming to most of what we’ll see in the blockbuster season of 2016, it’s also simply a good movie.

Rating: R

Director: Jodie Foster

George Clooney
Julia Roberts
Jack O’Connell
Dominic West
Caitriona Balfe
Giancarlo Esposito

Film Length: 98 minutes

Release Date: May 13, 2016

Distributor: TriStar Pictures

  • Score - 7.5/10
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