Money Monster– The Web of Greed on the Greedy Web

It has been a good while since we’ve seen Kentucky George with Georgia Julia, two Southerners who made it big in Hollywood. Perhaps you enjoyed the Oceans movies which involved both these stars. In a sense, this movie is like those, as it is all about money shenanigans, only this time perpetrated by a fat cat at a major company traded on Wall Street. It’s also about what can only loosely be called business ethics, which a lot of time is as much of an oxymoron as Microsoft Works. The story is not really much like The Big Short, if you are wondering, as it is not about selling short, it’s about outright stealing in order to make personal profit. The story trades on the already existing deep suspicion about high finance, Wall Street, and shrewd people getting rich off of ordinary people’s nest eggs, which makes inexplicable why so many ordinary people think they can trust someone like Donald Trump to help the ordinary Joe. Go figure, but I digress.

Besides Clooney and Roberts, behind the camera is Jodie Foster as well, and this is one taut thriller, as long as you are willing to settle for versimilitude and truthiness at some points (for instance the walk down NY streets near the end of the movie seems quite implausible). The movie is a sleek one hour and 30 minutes, and Roberts and Clooney are terrific together. You will not likely recognize the rest of the cast, but that’s just fine. The camera loves those two anyway. Fair warning, the film is full of bad language, but otherwise its well worth watching. Like the old movie Network, it’s about the fact that people are angry and aren’t going to take being punked any more. There is an air of righteous anger in this film, which is certainly justified after some of our public officials allowed the crash to happen in 2008 having deregulated banks and Wall Street, all for more profits.

In some ways this movie has some similarities with the excellent Jeff Daniels series Newsroom, in that the relationship between the female producer and the on camera star is very similar, except that that series had the witty dialogue of the award-winning Mr. Sorkin and this movie could have used some of that. Nevertheless, this is a film worth watching, and it raises important questions about :1) how our money is now all tied up in international markets and the economies of many nations around the world; 2) it probes the question of what sort of ethical restraints should be in place to prevent greed of CEOs from running amuck. As a summer movie, this one is pretty good, but it’s not Oscar material, unless we have another terrible year for good movies.

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