Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Clooney's a Hoot but Ken's Agitprop Packs Real Punch; CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Clooney's a Hoot but Ken's Agitprop Packs Real Punch; CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

Article excerpt

Byline: david sexton

MONEY MONSTER I, DANIEL BLAKE THE Big Short successfully blended comedy and drama in attacking the financial markets. Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster, is a simpler beast. George Clooney plays a monstrously over-confident TV financial adviser, Lee Gates. Lee's personal life is going down the tubes, with his marriages getting shorter, an escort service the first number on his speed dial, his skilful producer Patty ( Julia Roberts) quitting her job, in despair at his incorrigibility.

Then one of Lee's tips comes back to haunt him. A few weeks back he enthused about an investment firm, Ibis, trading through ultra-high-speed algorithms, as a safer bet than a savings account. Now it has lost $800 million in one day, the shares have plummeted, and its chief executive (Dominic West) has disappeared.

As Lee begins his spiel, a low-wage loser called Kyle (appealingly played by Jack O'Connell, good at being angry) bursts into the studio with a gun and suicide-bomb vest, which he forces Lee to wear, while the live broadcast continues.

Kyle has put all his inheritance, $62,000 from his late mother, into Ibis and now he wants revenge. From here on, it's a pretty straightforward hostage stand-off movie with a drumming soundtrack, in which Lee not only shows resource in surviving the situation but genuinely tries to get some answers for Kyle about how all that money could disappear (the answer, disappointingly, is not systemic villainy, nor even computing madness, but one bad egg).

There are a couple of funny moments one when Lee tries to get his viewers to push the Ibis stock back up to save his life, only for it to sink; another when Kyle's pregnant girlfriend is brought on to calm him but instead attacks him furiously: "You're not a man, you're a bitch, you cry when you f***, pull the f***ing trigger."

But essentially this is a uncomplicated comedy-thriller, in which Clooney comes good for the little guy and finds his own redemption, Julia Roberts changes her mind, and the markets are not guilty (although, it has to be said, Hollywood corn is always naughtily enjoyable at Cannes amid the grimly serious auteurs, delivering three hours of depression confined to a single flat in Romania, etc). …

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