Friday, October 21, 2016

Money Monster

Okay, I finally got to see Jodie Foster's film, Money Monster, last night on pay-per-view. I wanted to see it from the time I first saw the trailers at the movies.

Directed by Ms. Foster and produced by George Clooney, Money Monster is a tense drama, riveting to the end. In fact, it was time to feed the dogs, midway through the film. They sat begging at my feet, so I paused the video, got up, fed them, and went right back to watching, foregoing my own meal until after I watched the whole thing.

With an impressive cast and a talented director, this is one to see.

George Clooney stars as Lee Gates, the host of a television show called Money Monster, which uses hip dances and appropriately cheesy pop culture to give the viewers investment tips. Julia Roberts plays Patty Fenn, the longtime director of the program. Dominic West, a talented British import, excellent at playing the wealthy amoral man, plays Walt Camby, the owner of a corporation which lost $800 million dollars literally overnight and bankrupted many of the stockholders. Caitriona Balfe, of Outlander fame, plays his assistant, his mistress, and the one who suspects he was involved in the disappearance of the money. Long time character actor, Giancarlo Esposito, plays the police captain in charge of the SWAT team. Christopher Denham plays Ron Sprecher, whose comic misadventure makes him oblivious to the real danger. Lenny Venito plays Lenny, the cameraman, brave enough to follow all the action.

And last, but certainly not least, Jack O'Connell plays Kyle Budwell, a disgruntled investor who lost all his money by following Gates' advice to buy stock from the company of Dominic West. Wiped out of his meager fortune, he sneaks into the studio as a delivery man while the show is live on the air. He makes it into the studio, pulls out a gun and a vest with a bomb on it. He takes over the studio on live tv and demands Gates put on the vest and explain what happened to his $60,000.

A consummate professional, Patty (Roberts) deftly gives Gates' instructions in his earphone while directing security personnel to call NYPD.

Naturally the situation deteriorates from there with the police wanting to storm the studio and take out Budwell and possibly Gates if the bomb goes off in the melee. Patty starts releasing all nonessential personnel in the background, allowing them to leave the building.

Meanwhile the broadcast is still live. People all over the world are watching and a couple of them are involved. People all over NYC are glued to their devices watching the live drama unfold. When Budwell takes Gates out to the streets, all the while being broadcast by Lenny, the brave cameraman, the situation gets even worse. In the background Diane Lester (Balfe) conducts her own investigation of the stock fall and finds some irregularities. She speaks to people all over the world to find out what really happened.

The film grabs your attention as the people race to find the solution and save Gates.  He understands Budwell and begins to bond with him. Gates has to face some hard facts about himself, learning a painful lesson about his life. Budwell turns out to be a sympathetic character forced by the desperation of his circumstances to act as he has.

The film races to its surprising conclusion and the viewer is left feeling like you've run a marathon...i.e. stunned and drained of energy.

It didn't get great reviews when it was released, but when has that ever stopped me?

This one is a gem filled with good actors, a meticulous director, and a taut script. It also got me thinking about my upcoming inheritance and how NOT to invest it...sigh, reality bites, you know?

Until next time, take care and enjoy our rich and varied pop culture...

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