By Mandela Wells


“Money Monster” was not a film that I had high hopes for. George Clooney, in recent efforts had not quite lived back up to the magic that shot him to highest echelon of A list stardom in movies. Monuments Men” and even “Hail, Caesar!” were both major disappointments for him and since then to me I almost, I REPEAT ALMOST, ended up forgetting about his talents that he has had all this time. Even with the legendary Jodie Foster‘s directing and his reunion with Julia Roberts, I still imagined “Money Monster” actually being really terrible. However, this film proved me wrong and ended up being a surprisingly great picture.

Clooney plays Lee Gates, a Jim Kramer-like personality who host a tv show apply titled Money Monster, which deals with the financial world. During a live taping, a man named Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), who lost everything to a major financial corporation, invades the studio and takes everyone hostage, including Gates. Armed with a bomb and a gun, the dangerous Budwell reveals that, based on a tip from Gates, he lost quite a load of money and wants answers as to how that happened. Along with his long time partner Patty Fenn (Roberts), Gates must find a way to calm Budwell down while trying to help get the answers he seeks.

So I must say I was stunned at how much I actually liked this film. Money Monster was without question, surprisingly amazing. It had elements of the big short but also it had the suspense of a taking Pelham 123. This script was so smartly written. It incorporates highly complex stock market terms and equations and the writers managed to use it in  a way where it provided real suspense. Like things would go one way for a minute and the next it brought things back to square one and that gets engagement from an audience. for someone like Jodie foster who has only directed a handful of projects in her long career to so cleverly and fluidly incorporates these Wall Street terms and actions into a hostage film and not bore us is quite impressive.

George Clooney is back on his A game here. Lee Gates is a magnetic character who just talks and talks and talks. Yet, for the first time, this character actually is forced to sit back and realize that he unknowingly was part of a major conspiracy. Clooney did a fantastic job. Julia Roberts was excellent here. Patty is lee’s eyes and ears, and amazingly remains calm and determined to help him through. This is a role most males play and it reminded me of Denzel Washington’s character in “The Taking Pelham 123. Roberts did so well with this role. Jack O’Connell also did really well here. He is improving greatly as an actor and he plays a guy that just wants to know why he got played for a fool by this financial corporation IBIS. Dominic West was how I expected him to do playing a pretty much a jerk here. All in all he was great

Jodie Foster did such a good job directing this. Really well shot, you see just how crazy the scale is of the situation through the shots within the streets. Good lighting and cinematography as well. Go see it! ‘Nuff said.

Image by