Jodie Foster’s best directed film to date, Money Monster, tackles Wall Street and the media with an entertaining and nail-biting spin.
Both Wall Street and the press are subjects that have been covered often throughout the history of cinema.
But, in Jodie Foster’s latest film, these two worlds meet as financial television host Lee Gates (George Clooney) is taken hostage by an irritated investor (Jack O’Connell) who lost everything in the stock market.
You’d have thought that we’d be bored of films about corrupt bankers and the stock exchange by now, but Foster’s film actually feels rather refreshing.
That’s because Money Monster is a tense thriller, an entertaining drama, and a smart satire on the media – all at the same time.
Poor Foster must have had a hard job managing this melange but, thankfully, it’s magnificent when it could have easily been a mishmash.
There are twists and turns left, right and centre that keep you on the edge of your seat, while the politics being discussed on screen about the media and Wall Street will engage your brain.
Furthermore, considering that poor Clooney has to spend the majority of the film wearing a bomb vest with a gun pointed at his head, it’s certainly funnier than you would have first thought.
This is thanks not only to a witty script, with clever satirical leanings, but to a great cast who bounce off each other throughout the film.
To be fair, Clooney is always watchable – yes, even in Batman and Robin – and his effortless charming on-screen presence means that we fully believe him as the captivating television host Gates.
Clooney’s Gates appears at first to be quite the arsehole but, as the film develops, he proves himself to be a more complex character, keeping the audience interested.
Also, the dynamics between Clooney’s host Gates and the ever wonderful Julia Roberts’ director Paddy develop neatly, and their relationship certainly intrigues.
Surprisingly, however, the star of the show is the young Jack O’Connell, a British rising star who is certainly making a name for himself in Hollywood.
O’Connell gives a rather intense and shouty performance as gunman Kyle, which may be off-putting to some and he often doesn’t attract much sympathy from the audience.
However, Kyle’s characterisation and O’Connell’s performance is actually spot on and highly effective.
You can see that Kyle’s father-to-be is certainly in a lot of agony and pain, and O’Connell ensures that he gives his character gravitas.
Although Money Monster is surprisingly refreshing it still does not exactly have anything new to say. That is its flaw.
Its messages on corruption, greed and money are not new and it does lack depth. Still though, it is the most entertaining thriller I’ve seen in a long while.
Words by Emily Murray