It can be a glorious thing when movies attempt to boil down public rancor over a certain issue into a fictional story about one man’s struggle – the power of cinema to distill widely held feelings into a propulsive, personal story is unmatched. That was clearly the goal here, to spin the widespread enmity for the 1% into a gripping real-time thriller in which specific characters are held accountable for the financial inequalities that divide our society.
Alas, the film feels about a decade too late, and doesn’t credit the audience with the intelligence to understand the complexities of the situation it is addressing. At least The Big Short attempted (thanks, Margot Robbie!) to lay out the decidedly unsexy nuances of the global financial system. Money Monster, on the other hand, reduces the whole thing to a case of black-and-white heroes and villains.
Clooney and Roberts are both incredibly watchable A-list stars, but both of their performances fail to acknowledge that the general audience knows a little bit more about how live television works than it did when, say, Network came out, which contributes to the sense of condescension that permeates Money Monster.
It’s one thing to be inspired by notable precedents, but it’s not a good sign when all you can think about is better films – films like Dog Day Afternoon, Quick Change. Heck, even Airheads.
I was never bored watching Money Monster, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being talked down to.
‘Money Monster’ Movie Times
See Those Movies Dominic Corry Mentioned: Dog Day Afternoon, Network, The Big Short