Money Monster

November 12, 2016 at 8:57 am | Posted in 2016 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ½

While we primarily know her from her extensive acting career, Jodie Foster has also established herself as a skilled director and producer (“Little Man Tate,” “The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys,” “Home for the Holidays”). Her films have tended to be heartwarming, funny and intimate portraits of how people try to find meaning/ fit into the world. But that is not the case here. “Money Monster” is a flashy Hollywood production with top-tier stars, action and very little depth. George Clooney plays Lee Gates, a tv personality and financial advisor, who is a thinly veiled Jim Cramer character (his show is even called “Money Monster,” which is an obvious reference to Cramer’s “Mad Money”). In the middle of filming a live episode, a disgruntled young man with a bomb enters the studio and takes Lee hostage. The young man, played by Jack O’Connell (the British star of the fantastic film “’71” and Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken”), has a message he wants to share about the evils of rogue corporate interests and the plight of the little guy. This is another post-financial crisis movie but, unlike “The Big Short” or “Margin Call,” it sheds no light. The crisis is simply a cheap tool used to give a certain superficial relate-ability to O’Connell’s character. In fact, that is what I thought of the film, in general: it never went deep, or even tried to. It was always willing to simply move the story along. These are one-dimensional characters (well, maybe two-dimensional) who exist only to entertain the audience. That’s not a bad thing. Many films are pure escapism. I had just been under the impression that there would be more than that here. The film moves along quickly and, at barely more than an hour and a half, is over before you know it. It isn’t an unpleasant way to spend your down time. Just don’t show up expecting insight, catharsis, or any depth of emotion at all. This movie, for good or bad, is just a slick, glossy, thrill ride.

 

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