REVIEW | Money Monster (2016)

Jodie Foster helms this supposed hostage thriller designed to make you feel anything but thrilled. A very mild antagonist, a prosaic plot, a stodgy screenplay, an emotionally detached editing and cinematography all worked together to prevent you from experiencing any form of emotion.

George Clooney is Lee Gates, the cocky host of a live financial show, "Money Monster," suddenly taken hostage by a bratty loser, Kyle, (Jack O'Connell), an investor demanding answers after the sudden crash of IBIS, a company that Gates previously endorsed in his show. Meanwhile, the show's director, Patty (Julia Roberts), frantically investigates IBIS to save Gates' life.

Bizarrely, as the hostage drama unfolds before your eyes, your mind slips into apathy—and this is due to the film's multiple flaws. The villain is small and baby-faced, seriously lacking in crazy, scary vibes. Also, he simply pops at the studio very early on without first establishing a sinister mood, or providing introspection into his grief. 

The film also doesn't allow us to get to know Clooney and Roberts' characters (apart from their studio roles) before subjecting them into the hostage drama, that if Kyle blows Gates' brains out, we couldn't care less. And the viewers that watch the hostage drama live on their television sets—where a man could violently die any time before their eyes—are either impassive or mildly amused, further taking away any sense of stress and tension.

The only character that inspires emotion is a minor one—the Korean algorithm designer (Aaron Yoo), whose eyes speak volumes. Visibly troubled, he will make you sit up a little straighter and take interest in the IBIS fraud. He is a prelude to a semi-intriguing shady business within the IBIS, giving this tepid film a trickle of excitement.

Money Monster is a dull offering from Foster, so lackluster that four minutes into Kyle's non-threatening ramblings and outbursts, you are already itching to grab his gun and take it from there.

1.5 out of 5 stars
Opens May 25, 2016, in Philippine cinemas

Photos courtesy of Columbia Pictures


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