As you may have noticed if you have been checking Even More Cinema every now and then, I am not the best at posting content super often, especially if I’m studying because, as much as I like writing about movies, one needs to have priorities and writing a post is probably not going to change my life, whereas working on a college paper is, at least, going to make me pass. Why am I even telling you this? Why do you care? Because I believe that talking about Money Monster is worth my time and energy. Because it is not just another Hollywood movie that, no surprise, has been trashed by the critics (especially American critics) and that has performed so bad at the box office people are just making fun of it. I’m not going to say that the movie is fantastic, because it’s not, but it is way better than the public opinion has made you believe…because after all, how many of you have you seen it and how many of you have just been discouraged by the reviews and the general buzz?
I’m going to start by stating the many problems this movie has, which can be simply reduced to a simple issue: it is clearly a Hollywood movie, and everyone knows how predictable Hollywood films can be. George Clooney stars as Lee Gates, a financial guru that hosts a television show, Money Monster, where he basically tells people where to put his money. As the director of the show, Patty (Julia Roberts) says, it is far from being journalism, it is just a variety show with dancers and an arrogant know-it-all. Gates recently advised his audience to buy stock from a company called Ibis, which ended up losing 800 million dollars. This is when the main conflict appears: Kyle, an ordinary 20-something year old, following Gates’ advised, has just lost all his savings, 60,000 dollars, and now has taken Gates and the Money Monster crew. Now here lies the main problem: does anyone believe that George Clooney and Julia Roberts are going to be killed? That Kyle is going to shoot them or activate the suicide vest he has made Gates’ wear? Absolutely not. Does anybody doubt that George Clooney’s arrogant character is going to change and see that he was wrong all along? Would the mainstream audience believe that George Clooney and Julia Roberts are not able to save their lives and bring justice in the end? You know the answer. The movie is predictable and it is undeniable that it is partly more of the same heroic inspirational content Hollywood majors want to peddle into the masses (right before Summer season starts).
But, it is not just that. My faith in the movie was mainly due to the fact that the movie, that opened the Cannes Film Festival, was received with a standing ovation. I don’t know about you, but I tend to take these things quite seriously. Yes, the movie is predictable, but not completely. I barely go to the movies (I would love to but it is too expensive for me), but I saw Money Monster on Friday night in Los Angeles, and I could hear the audience react as the movie revealed its twists. Of course, the ending is going to be predictable (which is also the audience’s fault, shame on us), but the process is different. Moreover, the theme of the movie is definitely interesting: Why do we blindly rely on information that hasn’t been proven, that is manipulated and that we never question? Yes, it is a cliché, and it is not well resolved, in my opinion, but at least it is there (which is more than I can say from the films that are been shown on theaters right now). The same goes to the film’s idea that our society is glued to the screen, any kind of screen, and yet we are unable (and unwilling) to be active when our help is needed, and that once the problem is over we just change the channel and go on with our lives.
And let’s not forget about the actors: yes, Money Monster will not be the role of a lifetime for Clooney and Roberts, but they sure prove why they are some of the most famous actors in the whole world (and I say this as a person who hates Julia Roberts…). And what about Dominic West? I would have loved to see more of him and I have to admit, I thought the ending was rushed and superficial, but West is simply fantastic. I may be biased on this topic because I’m massively in love with The Affair, but his character goes in perfect harmony with what he is currently doing on television. He is the nice guy who turns out to be a villain, and it is precisely his façade which makes him so terrifying: it is very easy to attack a James Bond villain, but what about a man in a suit, that acts like any other businessman? This is precisely what Foster wants to make us understand.
Yes, Money Monster is a Hollywood film, there is no point in denying it, but at least it carries a deep message, which is more than I can say from most box office hits.