Money Monster: film review

The cast of Money Monster in Cannes
By Kit Millar, tutor

1 September 2016

Ahead of the October DVD release of Money Monster, Kit Millar (tutor and resident theatre, festival and film buff) reviews the financial blockbuster that tackles investments gone awry.

Genre: It claims to be an ‘action thriller’ but there wasn’t any running around with guns and cars like Die Hard!

Where is it set? 

In the fictional studio of ‘Money Monster’ in New York. It’s set in the present day, and is told in real time.

Who are the characters?

  • George Clooney as Lee Gates (The Money Monster host)
  • Julia Roberts as Patty Fenn
  • Jack O’Connell as Kyle Budwell
  • Caitriona Balfe as Diane Lester

What (financial) themes are present in the film?

It’s all about finance – stocks, shares and investments. It also links well with share prices and what can affect them, as well as the investment strategies of companies.

Essentially, it’s a big ol’ ethical drama. Bribery, bad investment advice; there are characters who are clearly not meeting the ICAS Code of Ethics! 

The film demonstrates that the investment decisions of big companies can heavily impact their shareholders: a £50,000 investment might be small change for some companies, but for shareholders it can translate as life savings.

What’s the story?

George Clooney plays a TV star called Lee Gates, who fronts Money Monster; a completely ridiculous, over-the-top show where he gives financial advice, including shares he thinks people should invest in. 

He makes a recommendation to invest in a company called IBIS Clear Capital, which lots of people do, before a massive crash in their share price.

The resulting fall out means that Kyle (played by Jack O’Connell from Skins) is understandably annoyed at losing his life savings. Kyle manages to get into the studio whilst they are filming an episode, and then proceeds to take George Clooney hostage on live TV. 

The only people who can help are the camera crew and producer Patty, who can communicate through an earpiece.

Not to give too much away, this tense drama unfolds with a dash to find the CEO of IBIS Clear Capital, who has disappeared without a trace. Hackers, algorithms, bribery and shady practices are all covered here.

Who would enjoy this?

Anyone who likes a film that is a wee bit far-fetched (it all seems a little extreme!), but also someone who likes a good story with excitement. Students looking for some entertainment while learning about financial ethics will definitely find something to enjoy here.

Photo credit: Featureflash Photo Agency /


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