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Finding Its Footing: Money Monster

After losing all of his money in the stock market, Kyle Budwell crashes Lee Gates’ TV Show with a gun and a bomb to try and find answers, uncovering a complex attempt at fraud on Wall Street. Money Monster has a difficult time finding its voice, all while trying to explore motifs such as financial woes, human nature, and media consumption.

The movie’s pace was, perhaps, the best reflection of the way that we now consume media. Taking place in one day, Money Monster does a great job of showing the life of a news story. Starting out quickly, growing in views and interest, then with a lull as nothing new happens, finishing with a bang, and finally the public moving on, the film clearly capture the short attention span of Americans today. The most lasting part of the news story in the film is the memes and jokes that come out of this very serious, dire story. This could be great material for a satire, however Money Monster also attempts to be a thriller, not allowing the media based commentary to fully form. The intense moments jerk the viewer out of the moment, distracting from the message.

This film received mixed reviews. It is clear that this movie isn’t something special, nothing truly groundbreaking or award worthy. The New York Times felt that the film just confirmed things that viewers already knew: “the financial system is rigged. The news media is corrupt. Millennials spend a lot of time in coffee shops.” Reviews pretty much agree that the acting in Money Monster was not bad by any means, but that the actors were not able to find the characters’ full potential due to the nature of the film. It is hard for Kyle Budwell to show a range of emotions when he has a gun pointed at himself or someone else throughout the whole film. Again, the violent tendencies of the film distract from any overarching theme that could come forward.

In theory, Money Monster, has a strong plot. Global, yet personal, current and relevant subject matter, the film had potential to be relatable. However, Money Monster struggled to find its place and the sudden switches from light hearted satire to aggressive thriller caused any message or commentary to be lost completely.


Natalie DeRoche

May, 2016