Money Monster ***1/2

An honest and telling look at our flawed financial system.

Is it worth $10? Yes

The true antithesis of the phrase "greed is good" is looked at through the dramatic backdrop of a scorned investor and his search for answers in "Money Monster."

Lee Gates (George Clooney) flamboyantly hosts the successful cable TV financial show "Lee Gates presents Money Monster." He dishes out stark and entertaining knowledge of the stock market, as well as "sure thing" tips to day traders. Enter Kyle Budwell (Jack O'Connell), an everyday hard worker who lost his entire life savings on one of Lee's tips. With gun in hand, Kyle forces Lee to wear an explosive lined vest as he demands answers from both Lee and the CEO of Ibis Clear Capital (the company whose supposed computer glitch cost the company and investors eight hundred million dollars).

Clooney and Julia Roberts, who plays his producer Patty, don't spend too much time on screen together, but it works out well. As producer and host who have worked together for many years, they speak to one another through earpieces and the back and forth bantering dialog keeps the story flowing perfectly.

After some fun and spine tingling situations, the story eventually moves outside. It goes from a frenzied, tight-spaced studio holdup to a dauntless walk through the streets of New York, surrounded by police and curious onlookers, some of whom happen to be big fans of the zany Lee Gates.

Director Jodie Foster explores the themes of corporate greed, staged media, and modern millennial indifference with an odd air of comfort. There are some great humorous moments in this high-tension hostage thriller that bring a much-needed brevity to the film. O'Connell represents a scorned "average joe" very well, but his less than intelligent attitude grates on you after a while. The story even does a little globetrotting to help set up the true reasons behind the company's failings. However, that doesn't save it from answers that are not very surprising. We all know the system is rigged and that the uber rich will get richer and your average citizen will continue to get screwed by the shell game of the money market.

This movie takes an entertaining look at the manipulation behind the curtain.  It may even open some people's eyes. But be prepared. It may also leave you more upset with the realization that there may truly be less "monsters" under your bed and more right in front of you. Or better yet, hiding in your wallets.

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