“Money Monster”

Despite having one of the worst titles, “Money Monster” sings the duel farces of the modern world : media overkill and stock market graft. Throw in the anger of  capital inequality and Dominic West’s face from “The Wire” and there is lots to think about.

But most will see  Director Jodie Foster’s fourth movie not for the message, but for the entertainment of seeing George Clooney parody the tipster from CNBC. He dances, throws a punch or two, and talks and talks like any bore who is supremely pleased with his status.  ” I haven’t eaten  dinner alone since 1990.” Then he changes. He becomes an almost father-like figure to the fourteen -dollar- an hour  renegade who straps an “explosive” vest on Clooney’s chest and aims a gun at his head all on live tv.

The tragi-comic tone is mixed with suspense, and the film is entertaining, when it should be frightening. Money’s rap wraps it up with ” Money, what makes the world go round..”  telling  us the saw we already know. When Lee Gates ( George Clooney) asks his ten million viewers to triple buy Ibis stock and save his life,  we see as the stock price goes down what a life is worth in this system.

Producer Patty played naturally by Julia Roberts sets the stage using logos and score boards and arranging  exactly what intel the viewers see. Roberts is the savvy woman who gets the job done and is underappreciated. Her remarks are quips of knowing. She feeds words into Gates’s earpiece, as he finds himself held hostage. ” Hard to believe you are the calm one in this relationship.”

That we don’t have a clue where our money is…with photons of light and financial planners leading the charge, our best laid plans may presage “glitches” that can produce strike outcomes, dictator overthrows, even death.

The police  negotiator and the SWAT team are poked fun at as much as the slogan “stock tips for the millennium”, yet who expects Hamlet-angst when dealing with  high -profile hostage situations. The catwalk and air vents provide the usual vantage points for  police sniper fire. Law enforcement  calls of ” take out the psycho” make one cringe.  In-house security thinks the action on camera is a stunt. The plan seems to be to shoot Gates in the kidney  to knock out the vest’s charge, and hope for the best.

Our victim wants to tell the world that our money system is all “fixed”. After losing his sixty-three-year -old mother, he now has lost his inheritance of sixty grand by following the investment advice of Lee Gates. He doesn’t really seek revenge or retribution. He is in pain and wants everyone to know.

When his pregnant girlfriend is brought in to reason with him, it backfires. Molly berates victim Kyle so badly that the scene will go down in cinematic history. Every bar stool watcher lowers his eyes at her  on-air diatribe. This kind of ” humor” panders to a younger audience like the rather silly erectile cream scene.

The New York Stock Exchange and ” high frequency trading ” are given their due. What is wrong with betting big is shown by the parcel truck driver’s sad  demise. Wall Street is ” tripping our nation” raps up as the credits scroll by. See “Money Monster” with ” The Big Short” and  check out the newest U-Tube  sensation.  This film is another  cultural wake-up call as “warm eyes and gentle souls” are mocked.




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Christine Muller

Carrying a torch for film is what I have done for over forty years, thus the flambleau flamed when I was urged to start a blog. Saving suitcase loads of ticket stubs was no longer relevent so I had to change the game. Film has been important for me in the classroom and a respite for me outside of it. No other art form seems to edge the frayed seams of life as neatly as when a film is done well. I am happy that over one-hundred countries have citizens viewing my thoughts on Word Press, and a few leaving their own with me. Over thirteen hundred comments to date, and over three hundred films reviewed.

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