Money Monster is a 2016 American thriller film directed by Jodie Foster and written by Alan Di Fiore, Jim Kouf and Jamie Linden. The film stars George Clooney (who also co-produced) as Lee Gates, a TV personality who advises his audience on commerce and Wall Street, and who is forcefully interrogated by Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), a grief-stricken bankrupt viewer who lost his money after a previous tip; the film also stars Julia Roberts, Giancarlo Esposito, Dominic West and Caitriona Balfe.
Principal photography began on February 27, 2015 in New York City. The film was released by Sony Pictures Entertainment through TriStar Pictures on May 13, 2016, received mixed reviews from critics and grossed over $93 million.
Flamboyant television financial expert Lee Gates (George Clooney) is in the midst of airing the latest edition of his show, Money Monster. Less than 24 hours earlier, IBIS Clear Capital’s stock inexplicably cratered, apparently due to a glitch in a trading algorithm, costing investors $800 million. Lee planned to have IBIS CEO Walt Camby (Dominic West) appear for a softball interview about the crash, but Camby unexpectedly left for a business trip in Geneva.
Midway through the show, a deliveryman wanders onto the set, pulls a gun and takes Gates hostage, forcing him to put on a vest laden with explosives.He is actually Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), who invested $60,000—his entire life savings, inherited from his deceased mother—in IBIS after Lee endorsed the company on the show. Kyle was wiped out along with the other investors. Unless he gets some answers, he will blow up Lee before killing himself. Once police are notified, they discover that the receiver to the bomb’s vest is located over Lee’s kidney. The only way to destroy the receiver—and with it, Kyle’s leverage—is to shoot Lee and hope he survives.
With the help of longtime director Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts), Lee tries to calm Kyle and find Camby for him. Kyle is not satisfied when both Lee and IBIS chief communications officer Diane Lester (Caitriona Balfe) 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 defies colleagues to contact a programmer who created the algorithm, reaching a man in Seoul named Won Joon (Aaron Yoo), who insists that an algorithm could not take such a large, lopsided position unless a human meddled with it.
Lee appeals to his TV viewers for help, seeking to recoup the lost investment, but is dejected by their response. New York City police find Kyle’s pregnant girlfriend Molly (Emily Meade) and allow her to talk to Kyle through a video feed. When she learns that he lost everything, she viciously berates him before the police cut the feed. Lee, seemingly taking pity on Kyle, agrees to help his captor discover what went wrong.
Once Camby finally returns, Diane flips through his passport, discovering that he did not go to Geneva but to Johannesburg. With this clue, along with messages from Camby’s phone, Patty and the Money Monster team contact a group of Icelandic hackers to seek the truth. After a police sniper takes a shot at Lee and misses, he and Kyle resolve to corner Camby at Federal Hall National Memorial, where Camby is headed according to Diane. They head out with one of the network’s cameramen, Lenny, plus the police, and a mob of fans and jeerers alike. Kyle accidentally shoots and wounds producer Ron Sprecher (Christopher Denham) when Ron throws Lee a new earpiece. Kyle and Lee finally confront Camby 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 a platinum mine while the union was on strike. The strike lowered the mine’s owners stock, allowing Camby to buy it at a low price. If Camby’s plan had succeeded, IBIS would have generated a multibillion-dollar profit when work resumed at the mine and the stock of the mine’s owner rose again. The gambit backfired when the union stayed on the picket line. Camby attempted to bribe the union leader, Moshe Mambo, in order to stop the strike, but Mambo refused and continued the strike causing IBIS’ stock to sink under the weight of its position in the flailing mining company.
Despite the evidence, Camby refuses to admit his swindle until Kyle takes the explosive vest off Lee and puts it on him. Camby admits to his wrongdoing to Kyle on live camera. Satisfied with the outcome, Kyle gets fatally shot by the police after throwing the detonator away, much to Lee’s dismay. In the aftermath, the SEC announces that IBIS will be put under scrutiny and Camby on trial for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as Lee and Patty reveal at the hospital that Ron will survive the gunshot.
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