Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Money Monster Review
Let's stop for a second here and remind you that a good crime drama is something that I enjoy. In fact, Criminal Minds is one of my favorite shows. I've seen all 250 plus episodes. Thus you can see that if you do a decent enough job with your crime drama, I can be easily pleased. I specifically bring up Criminal Minds because when I saw this trailer, I thought it looked like an average Criminal Minds episode, stretched out into a 100-minute movie. And that's what made me nervous. Like I said, I can be easily pleased when it comes to these, but when you attempt to stretch out what should be a 40-minute TV episode into a 100-minute movie, that's a bit troublesome. First off, you have to justify your existence as to why I should pay money to see your movie when I can just turn on the TV and watch an episode of Criminal Minds or another one of the ten thousand crime dramas we have on TV nowadays for free. Second, you have to do a good job at filling space. This is a story arc that fits perfectly into 40 minutes. 100 minutes, though? That's a two-and-a-half-episode story arc! This is where Money Monster fails. No, it doesn't justify it's existence. And no, it does a horrible job with all that extra space.
That's our first problem here. We don't have a very believable or relatable unsub in this movie. Jack O'Connell is an up and coming actor that I really like and he does a really good job in this movie. But he's just given nothing to work with. you have a bad unsub, you have a bad episode. That's usually how it works. The second big problem is that there is a surprising lack of tension. For the first half of the movie, we are trapped in this studio with a crazy gunman, but never once did I feel George Clooney's life was in danger. A big part of that is that I just didn't take Jack O'Connell's character seriously. He was good at yelling and screaming, but bad at carrying out threats. The whole team could do whatever the heck they wanted and he wouldn't really do anything. A second part of that is that there wasn't a big sense of panic. Everyone on board handled the situation in the most perfect way possible as if this is a situation that happens nearly every week. No one was scared. Camera men acted as if nothing was wrong. George Clooney was talking to this dude as if he didn't have a bomb strapped to his body and a gun pointed at his head. Julia Roberts as his producer talked to him as if she had just gotten out of a class on how to deal with a psycho maniac. Is was too perfect and thus not believable. And the soundtrack wasn't that tense. That's usually the biggest trick to building tension, but I just didn't feel it.
Another huge problem is that the police force in the movie were the biggest group of idiots I've seen in a cop show or movie. Whoever wrote this script must have never watched a single cop show in their lives or had no experience with how police handle these situations. In addition to having a good unsub and a realistically unsettled group of commoners, the other thing that makes cop shows interesting is having a good police team. If this were Criminal Minds, we'd have Hotch, Reid, Morgan, Rossi, and company on the scene quickly and they would be the ones managing the situation. I could envision Hotch or Reid being the one to take over Julia Roberts' spot as producer and telling George Clooney in his earpiece what to do and what to say. They would try to talk to Jack O'Connell if they could to talk him out of this and at the right time they would know when to move in and control the situation without harming anyone. But these police dudes, oh my goodness they were dumb. I suppose I won't spoil their plan, but it was possibly the worst thought-out plan that a police force could come up with to stop a hostage situation. I'm serious. If they were to try that in real life, everyone in that building would end up dead.
Overall this is not an unwatchable movie by any means. The technical aspects of this movie are done quite well. Camera work and cinematography is excellent. And this has a fantastic cast who all do a great job acting. I mean, this is not the best I've seen George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Jack O'Connell, but they certainly don't act as if they are just here to pick up their paycheck. They are looking like they are having a good time and trying to make this work. They're just given nothing to work with. This movie ends up coming off as a below average episode of any given crime drama that's stretched over the course of two and half episodes. We have a poorly written villain without a believable backstory. We have no tension in the studio when he is holding everyone hostage. We have a dumb police force that makes horrible decisions. And we have the whole second half of the movie that goes in a ton of weird, unrealistic, laughable directions. The movie is currently sitting at 55 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.8 on IMDb. I think those are very generous numbers. If you want a good crime drama, just go watch Criminal Minds, NCIS, or any other show like that. Don't bother giving Money Monster your time and money. It doesn't deserve it. I'm giving the movie a 5/10.