Greed is bad in Jodie Foster’s Money Monster. The story centers on Kyle, a deranged man (Jack O’Connell) who breaks into a live taping of a flamboyant stock tip show, and takes the glib host (George Clooney) hostage, strapping him into a suicide vest. Kyle is upset because he invested his entire savings—$60,000—into a high frequency trading company, the stock of which took a sudden dive after a glitch. Thus, there are two strands in the tight narrative, posing two questions: How will Kyle be neutralized? And why did the the glitch happen? Foster paces her thriller well, calibrating the tension to keep us engaged. Although all the main characters potentially could have been annoying, none of them are, because, at the exact moment when we expect Foster to be sympathetic and sentimental about the host and the hostage taker, she makes fun of them. The plot of Money Monster rings familiar—it’s not a Stephen Gaghan drama—but what the movie may lack in ambition and complexity it makes up for in execution.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White