The unfortunate obstacle I had to steer around while seeing this movie was its theatrical trailer. For one, it gave me a bad feeling that this movie was going to be preachy. It doesn’t help that Clooney’s movie Tomorrowland was basically cinematic agenda pushing, and it certainly doesn’t help that Clooney seems to be obnoxiously vocal about his political opinions as of late. So when the trailer has a guy constantly whining about the one-percent, I had a feeling that this movie was going to beat me over the head with a point.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves in movies. Movies can be an escape for me, so when one’s politics gets drilled into a film, I’m forced to think of those politics instead of enjoying an art form and a great method of story telling. I don’t like it when God’s Not Dead 2 does it, and I did not like it when Zootopia did it.
However, unlike the trailer for this film, Money Monster is a decent movie. Sure there’s some politics at play, but to my surprise and delight, the agenda was scarce and not part of the overall picture of the story.
Because George Clooney’s and Jack O’Connell‘s characters are relatively unlikable people, I found myself enjoying Julia Roberts’ character the most. I felt she was the most relatable, and I enjoyed the relationship dynamic between her and Clooney. Sure, Clooney’s the big personality on screen, but Julia Roberts is in the background making sure this narcissistic oaf doesn’t completely fall apart due to his own devices. I found it slightly humorous that Roberts is always correcting and reminding Clooney of things he should remember.
This movie really surprised me when it came to its underlying message too. I don’t really know if this is a spoiler or not, but if you want to be cautious, then skip to the next paragraph… Anyway, like I said before, the trailer for this movie seemed to set up a rich-oppressing-the-poor story, and even though there is a little of that in this film, the glaring theme is actually the depravity of humanity. When disgruntled Kyle forces the show to stay on air as he holds everyone hostage, he does so in the hopes to expose a rich corporation stealing people’s money through stock manipulation, but it’s obvious through the series of events that the ten million people who are watching are only watching for the spectacle and not because they truly believe what Kyle has to say. News commentators are making jokes throughout the event, and people watching the show are laughing when Kyle gets told off by his girlfriend. Most of the characters, main and ensemble, demonstrate terrible selfishness and a lack of empathy. When the spectacle finally ends, people don’t stop to reflect on what just happened; the final shot before the last scene is a guy getting back to his foosball game at some coffee shop as if nothing detrimental truly happened. When it’s all said and done, George Clooney’s character becomes Kyle’s only ally, and he begins to gain a sense of empathy that almost no one else in the movie demonstrates. I thought this was an interesting theme and it was, without a doubt, the best part of the entire movie.
Honestly though, Money Monster suffers from its extreme predictability. I felt I was one or two steps ahead of the story almost the entire time. Despite the fact that I found myself not disliking the movie, I never felt sucked into the story; there was nothing compelling me to do so. Part of this had to do with how much the trailer gave away, but honestly, this kind of premise has been done before multiple times, and Money Monster does little to stray away from the formula. The film does have a few surprises and some good scenes, but the overall story suffers from just how recycled it feels.
I guess it also doesn’t hurt to mention that some parts of the final act seem to throw logic and realism out the window, making it a bit too cheesy for my taste.
Also, this is just a subjective criticism, but one of the news commentators they put in this movie was Cenk Uygur of “The Young Turks”, and it took me out of the movie because I personally find that man repulsive, and I don’t think of him as a news analyst capable of objectivity or intelligent thought. That being said, this is just my opinion.
Honestly, this isn’t a bad movie despite my fears that it would be, but it’s really not all that great of an experience either. There’s some parts of the movie that I enjoyed and there is a slightly subtle, underlying theme to the entire movie that I very much appreciated. Despite this, I never found myself truly becoming submerged into the story. If you don’t go to the theaters as many times as I do, maybe you’ll enjoy Money Monster more than I did. However, I can only say that this is a movie that’s at least watchable but not much more than that, and I’m giving this movie a 6 out of 10.