Greed, Fraud and a Gun – Money Monster

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When you make a movie about wall street and the stock market, naturally you’re going to have to touch on greed. People want money, it’s plain and simple. However, Money Monster touches on something more deeper, something that I could actually see happening (or has it, I’m not sure).

Money Monster is about a cable financial guru Lee Gates (played by George Clooney, Ocean’s Eleven and ER) is in the midst of airing the latest edition of his show, “Money Monster.” Less than 24 hours earlier, IBIS Global Capital’s stock inexplicably crashed due to a so called glitch in the trading algorithm that the program runs on. This ends up costing investors $800 million. Lee planned to have IBIS CEO Walt Camby (played by Dominc West, 300 and Chicago) appear for a softball interview about the crash, but Camby unexpectedly left for a business trip to Geneva.

“The name is Lee Gates, the show is Money Monster. Without risk, there is no reward. Should I sell? Should I a loan? GET SOME BALLS!” – Lee Gates

Midway through the show, a deliveryman stumbles onto the set, pulls a gun and takes Gates hostage, forcing him to put on a vest laden with explosives. The “deliveryman” is laborer Kyle Budwell (played by Jack O’Connell, 300 and Unbroken), who has invested his entire live savings in IBIS after Lee endoresed the company a month earlier. A total of $60,000 was lost for Kyle. He isn’t alone however, many other investors lost their money and want answers. Kyle’s plan is simple, unless he gets the explanation as to what really happened, he will blow up Lee before killing himself. The police obviously know what is going on because the show is live and one of the techs behind the scenes has called. The police are quick to realize they can disable the bomb but it’s located near Lee’s kidney and could in fact kill Lee in the process.

With the help of longtime director Patty Fenn (played by Julia Roberts, Ocean’s Eleven and Pretty Woman), Lee tries to calm Kyle down and get him some answers. However, Camby is nowhere to be found, and Kyle is not satisfied when both Lee and IBIS chief communications officer Diane Lester (played by Caitiona Balfe, Now you See Me and Escape Plan) offer to compensate him for his financial loss. He also is not satisfied by Diane’s insistence that the algorithm is to blame. Diane is not satisfied by her own explanation either, and decides to contact the programmer who created the algorithm for answers. The programmer insists that an algorithm could not take such a large, lopsided position unless a human meddled with it. Meanwhile, the police have found Kyle’s girlfriend who is pregnant and hope she’ll be able to talk some sense into Kyle. This backfires when she learns that he lost everything and attacks him before the police can cut the video feed. Lee is starting to realize there is a lot more going on then just a “glitch in the system” and promises to help Kyle get answers.

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Diane is finally able to track down Camby, who just landed in New York. She is getting suspcious of her boss and apparently the person who’s having an affair with because she checks his passport. His was not in Geneva but in Johannesburg. She is able to steal his phone too and sends the information to Patty. Patty contacts the hackers they had the show previously from Iceland to hack into Camby’s files and discover the truth. After a police sniper takes a shot at Lee and misses, he and Kyle resolve to corner Camby at Federal Hall, where Camby is headed according to Diane. They head out with one of the network’s cameramen, the police, and a mob of fans. They barely manage to corner Camby, and after ensuring that he will not run away, they finally confront him with the full story, with video evidence obtained by the hackers.

It turns out that Camby bribed a South African miners’ union, planning to have IBIS make an $800 million investment in the mine while the union was on strike. If Camby’s plan had succeeded, IBIS would have generated a multi-billion dollar profit when work resumed at the mine and the stock of the mine’s owner rose again. However, the plan backfired when the union stayed on the picket line, causing IBIS’ stock to sink under the weight of its position in the flailing mining company. With the evidence being overwhelming and released on live television, Camby admits to his fraudulent crime. Kyle’s fake bomb is “set off” and Kyle is shot in the process, but Camby has been caught red handed and is taken away.

Overall the movie has a great run time, 1 hour and 38 minutes. The story is constantly moving and you wont get bored because something is always dropping, whether it’s the police outside, Lee or Patty or even Kyle. George Clooney plays his part beautifully and you see the character start to change from an arrogant prick to a guy who realizes he has a lot more influence on people’s lives then he thought and needs to take that seriously. One thing I did notice is that the stock index ticker that pops up during the movie never shifts more then 0.01 point (up or down) during the entire movie, I found that funny. I give it 9 out 10 stars!

“So what the hell kind of show are we going to do next week?” – Patty Fenn

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