"Money Monster" stars George Clooney as a host of a financial TV show who does stuff like offering advice on investing in stocks, giving updates on Wall Street, and a bunch of other financial related things. He eventually gets taken hostage during a taping of his show by a man played by Jack O'Connell, with Julia Roberts also playing the director of the show as she cautiously guides him through the situation. Basically, this movie is a real time hostage situation directed by Jodie Foster, one that definitely fits the mold of a mixed bag of a movie.
First off, I liked all of the performances in this movie. George Clooney plays the role of an over-the-top, extravagant, and overly-confident TV show host who does his best to make a show about stocks as entertaining as possible for the viewer. Clooney's not new to playing a suave, ambitious character who's more on fun side of things, so he naturally fits the role early on in the film, but he also gives a solid performance as someone who's being taken hostage and has to remain calm despite the delicacy of the situation. Julia Roberts is also very good as the director of the show as she tries to navigate everyone through the situation, plus we have a very strong performance from Jack O'Connell as he plays a guy who's been driven to extremes, but you still understand what's going on his head, and you ultimately begin to sympathize with his character. Acting wise, there's nothing to complain about in this movie, which is a shame considering the uneven story that follows.
Of the stuff going on during the hostage situation, the most interesting and intense moments take place when you're with Clooney and O'Connell. There are suspenseful moments as you're watching what could very well be a real life situation and you genuinely want to see how things play out, a huge credit to how Jodie Foster directed this movie. There's a good amount of stuff going on during the hostage situation with Clooney, O'Connell, and Roberts, but you end up wanting to see more of it whenever the movie cuts to all of the stuff going on outside of the situation.
With what I guess is something of a subplot, this movie occasionally shows the outside perspective of the hostage situation and it's no where near as interesting as said situation. The movie does have a few nice nods to social media in today's world and how it can affect predicaments like the one being portrayed, but even that gets weighed down as the movie beats you over the head with its message about how bad Wall Street is. Don't get me wrong, that's a message that I can fully appreciate, but with any social commentary, regardless of if you agree or disagree with it, it can become too preachy for its own good. All the power in the world goes to any filmmaker who wants to make a movie with a solid message on something in today's society, just add some subtlety to it. There's no need to be so blatant and almost ruin a critique that I believe to be relevant for today's world.
In the end, "Money Monster" is an uneven movie that has good performances and some genuinely intense scenes of the actual hostage crisis, but its overly-preachy message and cutaways to uninteresting, non-hostage scenes make the movie a whole lot less suspenseful than it should be. Jodie Foster did an OK enough job directing this movie, but I just wanted to see her direct it as a full on hostage situation with none of the outside stuff getting in the way. This movie could work as a one time watch if its on TV one night, but that's really the best it can reach in terms of a recommendation.