Jodie Foster has done her ongoing directorial career no favours with her latest endeavour, Money Monster. It’s impossible to fathom how and why this embarrassingly predictable, poorly performed, woefully scripted, pedestrian thriller received a standing ovation upon its premiere out-of-competition at Cannes. Rising to applaud purely because Julia Roberts and George Clooney are in the room is definitely no excuse given the laughably nonsensical spectacle on show.
A catastrophic computer ‘glitch’ – a word repeated ad infinitum – is the catalyst for events broadcast live on networks across the world as onlookers watch with something between mildly bated breath and irritated tedium. A similar sensation is experienced when watching Money Monster; let’s hope it represents a similar malfunction, a disastrous but momentary blip, in the careers of a star-studded ensemble capable of so much more than this preposterous tripe. Before a dazzling kaleidoscope of infographics, never-ending fibre optic cables and Matrix-style nothingness draws us into the world of ultra-fast money transfers, the dulcet tones of Mr. Clooney ask whether we are paying attention. This attention, and any sense of personal credibility, is held just long enough for his character, Lee Gates – based on CNBC’s Mad Money host Jim Cramer – to don boxing gloves and robe (one of many ludicrous get-ups) and dance around on stage whilst explaining stock options.
All those assembled on the bridge – including Roberts’ soon to depart director Patty Fenn – all roll eyes lovingly at just what a funny old cad Lee is, riffing and improvising from the auto-cue to his heart’s content. So full of ego and self-importance is Lee that when a man glides past the worst security guards in America and strolls into the studio with a handgun and two ominously large boxes, he is mistaken for a side-act in the show. Only when Kyle (Jack O’Connell, whose desperate, kinetic performance is the slightest of redeeming qualities of the whole film) fires into the air and places a Semtex-laden vest on gorgeous George does everyone sit up and take notice. Kyle, who has a baby on the way with a ferociously unhappy girlfriend, followed Lee’s advice and placed a $60,000 inheritance in IBIS, a company run by Dominic West’s elusive CEO Walt Camby.
When the aforementioned ‘glitch’ sees an $800 million loss, Kyle’s future no longer looks so rosy. His purpose for coming on air and holding Lee hostage? To find out what actually happened and for Camby to say sorry. Seriously, that’s it. NYC’s boys in blue concoct truly idiotic conflict resolution strategies, but without much more of a plan, any real tension, or anything too insightful to say, and with a script – which took three people to write – of little more than expletives, Money Monster hobbles towards the most unsurprising of finish lines. Thankfully, reaching the finale does put everyone out of their misery.
Matthew Anderson | @behind_theseens