BUBBLING with commentary about the media, corporate greed and infotainment, Jodie Foster’s fourth feature is a taut thriller with A-list star wattage and food for thought.
Super-slick and borderline sleazeball financial TV show host Lee Gates (George Clooney) dishes out stock exchange advice to his audience with the help of eye-catching graphics and scantily clad back-up dancers.
Often going off script is a constant headache for his director Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts), but the charming star’s style pulls the ratings.
When blue collar worker Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), posing as a courier, stumbles on to the set, Patty thinks it is another Lee Gates stunt but Kyle soon reveals a gun and forces the host to wear a vest wired with explosives.
Kyle demands to know why, after he invested $60,000 in a booming business based on Lee’s advice, the company took a huge hit costing its investors $800 million, but no one is buying the company’s PR spin response.
Timely with Perth councils’ recent move towards greater transparency and accountability, Money Monster takes the point of view of the everyman who is often forgotten yet the one who pays the price for the greed and lies of those in power.
As Kyle’s plight is broadcast around the country, Foster takes aim at the blurred line between entertainment and information sharing with Lee finally realising the consequences of his on-screen antics and persona.
While tension is high, namely due to the fact that we are able to empathise with all the main characters (yes, even Lee, who is still likeable despite his arrogance – kudos to Clooney’s skill), there is a surprising amount of humour.
Foster is keen for her audience to still have a fun time while contemplating the state of the world.
Money Monster is a nice balance of thrills and thought-provoking commentary; one that won’t hurt your brain while you are prompted to consider current issues.
Money Monster (M)
Directed by: Jodie Foster
Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas now