THRILLER; 1hr 39min
STARRING: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell
Out of control: from left, O'Connell and Clooney
Finance whiz and Money Monster cable-show host Lee Gates is a great gig for Clooney, who gets stuck into it with the smug brio of a tabloid-media pro. Lee is the P.T. Barnum of wheel and deal, and doesn't he know it. But pride is the flipside of a fall, which arrives on Lee's set in the armed and furious form of a burned investor (O'Connell as Kyle Budwell) who took Lee's slick advice and lost the lot. Sixty grand is chump change for Lee and his ilk, but enough incentive for Kyle to lock down the studio, strap its host into an explosive vest and call $800 million worth of commercial greed to account.
Watching from the control room, Lee's sharp-witted producer, Patty Fenn (Roberts), grapples for defensive strategies. But the disparate strands of Kyle's meltdown, tightly pulled together by director Jodie Foster, are bigger than any of them. In the end, it isn't the frantic corporate scramble or Lee's day of reckoning that matter most, although the scramble and the reckoning are a trip in themselves. It's Kyle's baffled rage and cornered despair that slam the showbizzy hype down to earth.