Film Thoughts: Money Monster

Spoilers ahead

My expectations for Money Monster were low. A collective sigh from many reviwers, a 55% rating on Metacritic. But I don’t know what the critics were watching, MM is really good. It’s almost as if film reviews are subjective

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Hollywood can’t keep up with out ever-accelerating culture. Films about Angry Birds and World of Warcraft have just arrived in cinemas, years after people stopped asking for them. Eye in the Sky is commenting on drones, while society has mostly accepted them as commonplace and moved on. With that in mind, I expected Money Monster to centre on the financial crisis of 2008, or the gap between the 1% and the 99%, topics that no longer feel worthy of much time. It did reference them, but not to the extent that the topics dominated the film. So MM felt fresh

I expected a twist where Budwell would reveal he was a financial whizz, who’d then explain to Gates where he was wrong about the Ibis ‘glitch’. I was happy to be wrong. Budwell didn’t seem the type (not to tar working-class New Yorkers with the same brush). And also, if he was such a financial genius, he wouldn’t have put all his money into one company’s stock

If you show Jimmy McNulty in a small role, I’ll assume two things:
a) We’re going to see him again later
b) He’s going to do something dodgy. He was good police in The Wire, but he still couldn’t be trusted. Especially with women. The dirty beast

MM has a brilliant, angry, intense performance from Jack O’Connell*. He showed beautifully Budwell’s dichotomy — he says he expects to die, but a small part of him still believed he had a chance for redemption. When Budwell got shot, the dust in that cinema really started to sting my eyes. I knew he’d die. He had to. Yet I really wanted him to live, no matter how ridiculous that would be,

*I’ve just discovered that O’Connell isn’t American and has a small role in This is England. Mind, blown

Murmur from The Sopranos (Lenny Venito) is such a likeable everyman. He constantly looks exhausted, which helps

The show Money Monster, with Clooney’s dancing and the girls, was unrealistic. But, sadly, not by much

Clooney and Roberts’ relationship felt like something from The Newsroom. Except with actual human feelings

Perhaps the only flaw I could find with the film, and small one at that, was that it didn’t really trust its audience. Apparently we needed an overly-long explanation of what an algorithm is. And to facilitate it, we needed the Chief Communications Officer of a company that specialises in high-frequency trading to not understand what programming is. And it was screamingly obvious to the audience that McNulty had been up to some dodgy dealings, way before it became clear to the smart people of this film’s world

It seemed unrealistic that people would line the streets to cheer Budwell and Gates moving through New Yoik. Then I watched an episode of The People vs OJ Simpson, and remembered how mental some Americans are


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