Money Monster, film review: ‘George Clooney is as charismatic as ever’

PUBLISHED: 18:05 23 May 2016 | UPDATED: 18:05 23 May 2016

George Clooney stars as Lee Gates in MONEY MONSTER. Picture: Atsushi Nishijima/Sony Pictures Entertainment

George Clooney stars as Lee Gates in MONEY MONSTER. Picture: Atsushi Nishijima/Sony Pictures Entertainment

©2016 CTMG, Inc. All rights reserved. **ALL IMAGES ARE PROPERTY OF SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC. FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY.

In Money Monster, a selection of Hollywood ‘Liberal Icons’ gather together to wag their fingers at today’s naughty businessmen, and the callous society that has grown up around it.

Julia Roberts stars as Patty Fenn in MONEY MONSTER. Picture: Atsushi Nishijima/Sony Pictures EntertainmentJulia Roberts stars as Patty Fenn in MONEY MONSTER. Picture: Atsushi Nishijima/Sony Pictures Entertainment

It all seems a little bit out of touch – like Tony Blackburn and Simon Bates hosting a Grime night.

But, on balance, it comes out ahead.

For every clunky Hollywood moment, there are one or two surprisingly deft moves.

As a vehicle to express their discontent, Foster, Clooney and Roberts have found a script that harks back to the golden era of ‘70s Hollywood creativity, a Dog Day Afternoon/Network hybrid.

Clooney is the TV star, who hosts a daily show tipping stock.

One day, an armed man called Kyle (O’Connell – remarkably similar to a young Gary Oldman) takes over the show, holding Clooney and the production team, including producer Roberts hostage.

He’s as mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore because he works a dead end job and has lost all his money investing in stock that Clooney tipped.

Now his protest is being broadcast live.

The main sound you’ll hear in the film is that of people changing their tune.

Clooney in particular seems to be afflicted by the fastest onset of Stockholm Syndrome in medical history.

He’s as charismatic as ever, but the character doesn’t ever convince – he isn’t sleazy enough to be this shill for Wall Street and he seems too composed when Kyle tears his world apart.

The first half hour is a predictable enough lecture, but the film comes to life when Roberts instructs the camera to move in closer, to get a better angle on Kyle’s face.

It’s the moment she snaps out of her shock, reverts back to what she is good at: shallow journalism.

The film becomes darkly comic, lightly sending up the ridiculousness of Hollywood superstar ‘issue’ movies.

Notice how poor Kyle, the little man briefly making his stand against corruption, quickly gets superseded by the Clooney character.

Even with a gun to his head and a suicide bomb vest across his chest, he remains the authority figure, making the little guy a pawn in his story.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

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