Money Monster Blu-ray review
Word is spreading fast across cable news programs that a major U.S. banking company has suffered a loss of $800 million, leaving some investors without a penny to their name. There is damage control to be made, especially on the part of Lee Gates (George Clooney, HAIL, CAESAR!), the over-the-top host (think Jim Cramer) of a program called Money Monster (think Mad Money).
Gates plans to have the company’s CEO (Dominic West, GENIUS) on the air to downplay the loss, but is left empty handed when he suddenly leaves the country. It’s an episode bound to be a minor disaster…and it’s about to get much worse. While on the air doing his shtick, a man named Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell, UNBROKEN) steps on the set brandishing a gun. After strapping Gates with a bomb-laden vest, Kyle states his case: the system is rigged and a bad tip from Gates cost him his entire life savings. “How is that even fair?” he asks the audience at home.
The situation finds Kyle tossing endless threats and Gates trying to maintain his reputation. (He has a hard time not playing the on-air personality, even with a gun at his forehead. When the distraught Kyle says “$60,000 is chump change to you,” Gates can’t help but reply, “It kind of is.”) Behind the scenes, director Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts, MOTHER’S DAY) is doing her best to keep the situation calm and move the program towards a clean ending. Meanwhile, all over the country, people at home and at bars are glued to the TV; some find it horrifying, others are amused. (The nods to Sidney Lumet’s NETWORK are apparent, although MONEY MONSTER attempts no satire.)
There is clearly an agenda here—not-so-subtly presented by writers Alan Di Fiore, Jim Kouf and Jamie Linden, as well as director Jodie Foster (her first theatrical effort since 2011’s THE BEAVER)—that simultaneously shames Wall Street and wags a finger at the sorts of shows and networks that profit from and depend on that world. One of the more hammered-in moments comes when a representative for the company answers Kyle’s interrogations of corruption with a measly “I don’t know.” Get it? Big corporations don’t answer to anyone! Later, when Gates asks the viewing audience how much his life is worth, there is a clear drop in support. Get it? TV hosts are worthless!
These points are prevalent throughout and cause more than a little eye rolling. (So, too, does Clooney’s Fly Girl-inspired dancing.) MONEY MONSTER is meant to be taken seriously and for the audience to consider the subject matter with a straight face. But this is awfully difficult considering how improbable and silly the primary conflict is. Imagine a movie where a diehard Red Sox fan lost a heavy bet on Game 6 of the ’86 World Series and decided to hold Bill Buckner hostage on top of the Green Monster. It’s like that, but with dancing.
Video: 2.39:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The video transfer offers nice details and healthy colors.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English, Cantonese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai. Dialogue is clean, sound effects are strong and the score plays effectively.
George Clooney: The Money Man (5:27): This featurette looks at Clooney’s character, performance and dance moves.
Inside the Pressure Cooker (9:55) looks at the style, genre mashing, story and more of MONEY MONSTER.
Analysis of a Scene: The Showdown (7:09): The end sequence of MONEY MONSTER is discussed.
Deleted Scenes (2:23): There are three here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Global Opening,” “Let Me Speak to the Quant” and “Molly’s Exit Rant.”