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Money Monster  : Funny & Greedy
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Friday, May 6, 2016
Thriller
Jodie Foster
George Clooney, Julia Roberts

On the face of it, director Jodie Foster’s Money Monster might seem like a classic hostage situation, reminiscent of films like Phone Booth. However, George Clooney as TV host Lee Gates and Julia Roberts as Patty Fenn, the producer of his show, succeed in repackaging a generic plot into a witty 98-minute thriller.

 

Lee Gates initially comes across as callous, uncaring and capricious as he recommends investment positions on his show Money Monster without being mindful of the consequences. Patty contrasts him by taking responsibility on set and ensuring the show runs without a glitch. She continues to do that even when Gates is taken hostage by a desperate gunman who’s lost all his savings on a stock market tip he took from Money Monster. Soon, the TV host learns a lesson in humility and brandishes the cause of the ‘little men’ who get overlooked on account of corporate greed. Patty’s guidance through Lee’s earpiece helps smooth over his character transition and lends credibility to his U-turn.

 

The plot’s novelty lies in the fact that the antagonists constantly change throughout the movie. NYPD is depicted as glaringly inefficient, which comes as no surprise given previous films made in this genre. The focus thus remains on Patty’s smart devices to prevent gunman Kyle Budwell from blowing up the quick-witted Lee Gates. Power, human compassion, culpability, and true measures of success in life are on the drawing board to help the audience shift their perceptions of who the true aggressors and victims are. Is it loser Kyle with gun in hand whose investment went down the drain? Is it IBIS Clear Capital, the company that lost 800 million dollars of its investors’ money and blamed it on an algorithm glitch? Is it Lee Gates and his show?

 

A mysterious corporate entity with suspected illegal trading practices and a street view of New Yorkers eagerly crowding to get a better view of a man wearing a bomb vest is the coup de grace. It’s relatable yet far-fetched enough to be sheer cinema.

 

For raising pertinent questions on the corporate world while retaining its flair for fun, Money Monster gets a 3* rating.

 

Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author

 

           

 

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