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Jeri Jacquin

In theatres today from director Jodie Foster and Sony Pictures comes a look at the result of greed when dealing with a MONEY MONSTER.

Lee Gates (George Clooney) is a financial television host of a show that talks about investments and the buying and selling of stocks – with a flare. Gates is clearly a narcissist and producer Patty (Julia Roberts) has dealt with him for years.

The day was to be like every other day and as filming of Gates’ piece begins, Patty notices another person on the set. Within seconds Gates has a gun to his head with Kyle Budwell’s (Jack O’Connell) finger on the trigger. Making sure every bit of what is to happen is heard Kyle airs grievances.

During one of Gates’ shows, he talked up a company called IBIS and Kyle invested a large some of money only to lose it when a glitch lost $800 million dollars. Now the gun toting man wants answers.

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One person Patty looks to is Diane Lester (Caitronia Balfe), an executive with IBIS who can only say ‘I don’t know’ when asked about the loss. The one person who does know is Walt Camby (Dominic West) who owns IBIS and he can’t be found.

With the news set on lockdown, the police are ready to jump in but Gates decides in the midst of the chaos to help Kyle find the answers he’s looking for.

Clooney as Gates just cracked me up with the loud antics and fast talking madness about money. This is probably why I don’t watch those shows because b.s. tends to make me ill. It’s all fun and games until someone has a gun to your head yet Clooney still manages a wise crack here and there. Of course there is a moment when the wisecracking stops and reality sets in and the audience gets to experience that light switch moment for Clooney’s character.

Roberts as Patty is the voice that keeps Gates calm, even if she’s freaking out herself. Being quick on the draw this character does what Gates can’t – find those who are in “charge” and follow the paper trail. Roberts is fast and furious till the end.

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O’Connell as Kyle is brilliant. He looks like an every day American who would try to make a better life for his family. Listening to Gates tell him IBIS is the way to go to make more money is something everyone does everyday. It’s also what happens when you push a hard working guy just a little too far. Is what Kyle does right? Hardly, but feeling squashed makes people do strange things. O’Connell’s character made the audience I sit with sad, angry and siding with Kyle.

West as Camby is just a money hungry douchebag who thinks the world will be shocked for five seconds before moving on to something else. The were people sitting behind me at the screen who were none to happy with Camby and loudly said a few choice words about him – well done West, you pissed off all the right people!

Balfe as Diane is one of the top executives at IBIS but that doesn’t mean a whole lot when you don’t have answers about losing a ton of money! Balfe gives her character a few good shots at being a responsible exec and she looks good in modern clothes (OUTLANDER fans will know what I’m talking about)

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give MONEY MONSTERS four tubs of popcorn out of five. I truly enjoyed this film because I became invested in it quickly. Of course it did remind me of films like JOHN Q and THE NEGOTIATOR but I had to ask myself why that was? It’s simple actually – because there does come a point where people are tired of being taken advantage of.

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That’s what MONEY MONSTERS is really about! Yes it is intense and a highly charged film that constantly twists and turns trying to keep our eye off the ball as it were. For 98 minutes the film does its job well and let that be a lesson to us all. We are captivated at the moment something big happens but when it’s over we go back to our lives – and those in know count on it.

Okay, I’m done ranting (see how that works?). Clooney is awesome, Roberts keeps her cool and O’Connell is a character to be pitied. West comes in once again riding his black horse of bad-guy-ness which he does very well and it’s good to see Balfe outside of Scotland.

MONEY MONSTERS has wit, twisted humor (which I love), action, slight-of-hand and a cast that brings it all together so very well. Director Foster gets it done right and forces each of the characters to ask the hard question with an answer that is as empty as the wallets of investors. I’ll keep my money in my pocket thank you very much!

In the end – follow the money!

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