George Clooney’s hostage thriller, ‘Money Monster’ has recently been added to Netflix UK. Here’s a few words on what I thought of it.
Before we have even faded up into the scene, Clooney’s voice rings out, speaking directly to the audience. It quickly becomes apparent that his character is addressing the audience of his TV show. Lee Gates is a TV financial adviser, informing audience on what moves to make in the stock market.
The greed of big business is a very important theme in ‘Money Monster’. This is of course illustrated by the narrative but also the set dressing. The set of Gates’ show, which is where most of the drama occurs, is haunted by the rolling FTSE figures.
A close-up graphic of the American bank note adorns screens all around the studio. The all-seeing eye of Thomas Jefferson follows you around the room. Even dark corners of the backstage area are dimly lit with bank note green.
The move rips along; the pace of the narrative and the conversations exactly illustrate how a stock broker’s life must be. The characters speak with a blistering, breathless pace. You struggle to keep up with what they are saying at times.
The tone is motivational, even whimsical at first. The characters are driven but jokey and upbeat. However, when the live TV show turns into a hostage situation, the atmosphere becomes desperately tense and this was masterfully done.
The directing of the actors involved really made these scenes. In an interesting meta way, a producer is being directed as she, directs a TV show. I love the fact that producer Perry decided to roll with the situation and carried on producing a TV show despite the unfolding scenario. They turned a hostage situation into a report, very inspiring stuff for journalists.
This contributes to the feeling of high stakes. There is a feeling of importance, this is big stuff. It also feels like something that could definitely happen in real life.
The main theme of ‘Money Monster’ is the evils of corporate greed. This really comes through in the narrative. The gunman’s hostages actually end up cooperating with him in his quest to get answers from banking juggernauts. This is a meta role for a man known for his penchant for civil disobedience. He is shouting out an anti-establishment message here too but this time it is in the guise of Lee Gates.
Despite this highly febrile situation, they manage to make you laugh. Gates is in mortal peril but he cracks jokes at gun point as a coping mechanism. Clooney is whistling through the graveyard here.
Gates and Kyle have a debate on who has it worse, while the show is orchestrated around them. The story unravels into a conspiracy about a stock market algorithm, such drama. This one is short, sweet and pacey. Check it out.