Money Monster is about a broadcaster named Lee Gates who hosts a show called Money Monster that talks about all the happiness and private parts of the universe, including the fact there was a glitch in some sort of algorithm, and 800 million dollars vanished. The next day, a man sneaks onto the stage and while on tape shoots a gun into the air and forces Lee to put on a bomb vest that will go off if his thumb leaves a button he's just pressed down. He says he lost 60 thousand dollars, and Lee says with honesty he can get that for him, but he says he wants, you guessed it! 800 million dollars. Actually, he wants to know what happened to that algorithm, and he's pinning this on Lee because of something he said on Money Monster that was more comedy than documentation. Now, the police have to find a way to intercept Kyle without him blowing up the building, and Lee has to decide whether to stall or help the guy out.
Remember my C review of The Big Short? Well, I think I'm pumping my review up to a B or B-. The first time I saw that movie, it seemed to just go too fast for me to really grasp everything and went too long. But now I do. I feel that movie is better off being watched in chunks rather than the whole thing at once at 2 hours. When it goes like that, apart from a few story problems I had, it's pretty damn good. And The Big Short has a bit bigger of a mystery to tell as it goes along: What is with those numbers, what aren't the people in the big banks telling us, and how did the overall financial crisis happen? This movie doesn't have that same mystery exactly; in the sense that we don't know the face, but we know the idea. The minute when Kyle Budwell steps on, we know what the villain is going to be like. That sense of familiarity has apparently given a lot of critics mixed reviews on it, but I have to admit, until we get to that part, the movie is so good that I might have to apologize to George Clooney for how harsh I've been on his movies lately (The Descendants, The Monuments Men, Hail, Ceasar!) George Clooney finally packs the punch we know he could! And I had a lot of fun watching this movie!
I was also impressed with the way I actually had mixed feelings about Kyle Budwell. He's clearly hurt but also clearly violent. It's fun watching him know when someone is lying and George Clooney's (Lee Gates) conversations feel realistic, and we feel like Lee is a very good person and not just some satirical airhead like we thought he was. And as the police approached, I had no idea if I wanted Kyle dead or not. Probably not mostly because that wouldn't have been a good story, but Jack o'Connell magnificently plays Kyle so monstrously you really don't want him to turn around. The soundtrack's not too shabby either; it doesn't stay on for the entire film. Movies where someone is being hled captive usually don't have much music during the captivity scenes. But there is a small soundtrack that feels like a vehement showing of the journalism world, and a funky and funny Wall Street rap credits song.
Many people didn't enjoy the climax much, but I found it almost as suspenseful as the airport fight scene in Captain America: Civil War. Almost. I won't tell you what happens, but so much happens all at once and for what it was, it was tugging, and the end result is a movie that's obvious but still just fun. (Though there's a scene involving money amounts and I don't think it would've gone down the way it did in real life. Ah well.)
Money Monster is like watching a ton of people put together a heavy jigsaw puzzle in a time limit. You know what the final product is supposed to look like, but it's a lot of fun watching them race around trying to get it done and trying to cheat their way through. If this movie had an actual big mystery, I think I would've given this film an A+.