1. It’s set in the ruthless world of American finance
Money Monster takes place on Wall Street, world-famous home of the New York Stock Exchange, in the wake of 2008’s devastating financial crisis.
2. It grips you from the start
Flashy TV financial expert Lee Gates (George Clooney) is hosting a live broadcast when his set is charged by Kyle Budwell (Skins‘ Jack O’Connell), a furious ordinary Joe who lost his life savings after following Gates’ advice. Budwell puts a gun to the presenter’s head and makes him strap on a Semtex vest, which he says he’ll detonate if Gates fails to follow instructions. Because Budwell has hit rock bottom, there’s nothing to stop him spiralling dangerously out of control.
3. It’s driven by a powerful partnership
While Gates is being held hostage, the show’s director Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) is watching from the control booth and communicating with him by earpiece. If the pair can’t work together to calm their intruder down, he might blow up the studio live on air. Playing longtime pals, the two actors bounce off each other like old pros.
4. You’re never quite sure who to root for
Clooney’s Gates is careless and could be guilty of giving out reckless advice, but he seems to want to redeem himself. O’Connell’s Budwell has probably been wronged and has a pregnant girlfriend (Fringe‘s Emily Meade) to provide for, but does this justify holding a man hostage?
5. The pace never slackens
Director Jodie Foster keeps cranking up the tension as her film hurtles towards a thrilling conclusion which pits Gates against Wall Street CEO Walt Camby (The Wire‘s Dominic West), a man whose conscience is less spotless than he is letting on.