The Monster of Wall Street
Money Monster is Jodie Foster's latest directorial effort, pulling in George Clooney and Julia Roberts for a tense, topical thriller.Although its narrative - and socio-political observations - are neither particularly new, nor particularly unusual, Foster's fictional foray into anti-banking sentiment is a solid, well-orchestrated exercise in hostage-taking tension and duplicitous double-dealings, with a bevy of familiar faces carrying the piece. '71's Jack O'Connell is almost unrecognisable as the desperate gun-toting man who takes Clooney's TV host hostage live on air, in a bid to get to the bottom of the sneaky corporate double-dealings that led to the collapse of share prices and the devastation that ensued. With Julia Roberts' TV showrunner watching from behind the scenes, we see the conflict unfold before the eyes of the nation, as the seemingly implausible conspiracy starts to ring increasingly true.Foster juggles her cast expertly - with Roberts suitably restrained and Clooney, totally against type and all the better for it, playing a loud and brash seemingly all-mouth TV show host who buckles instantly under the pressure of a loaded gun, eventually trying to find some sort of meaning in his largely shallow life. There's also a strong balance between fact-dropping stats and financial info-talk, and tense action, allowing the film to be both authentic and exciting. There isn't a great deal new for her tale to tell, despite how topical the backdrop is, with the narrative largely telegraphed at most every stage, but third act developments do keep the tension going, and Money Monster remains an efficient, taut and effective little thriller that's worth checking out.
Picture QualityMoney Monster's 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation, framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen, boasts decent enough detail that laps up skin textures on close-ups, and picks out background touches, clearly distinguishing between the almost clinical studio setting and the real world outside.
A faithful image devoid of flaws but never going to make the demo ranks
There's obviously a studio flourish to the 'show' within the film, when it's being presented, but similarly there's a more authentic real-world feel afforded the rest of the film as a result. Consequently the presentation is remarkably natural but also remarkably restrained in the era of excessive post-production image manipulation, leaving a very faithful image largely devoid of outright flaws but ultimately never going to make the demo ranks.
Sound QualityMoney Monster is promoted with a strong and similarly faithful DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which delivers some nice flourishes, particularly in its glitzy show clips, sweeping across the array and engulfing you in studio-manufactured furore. It's got just enough pizzazz to keep you engaged across the proceedings.
A solid, albeit not quite demo, audio experience
The hostage situation proper is a little more documentary in style, but still benefits from some precision elements across the array, with the at-times-restrained score bringing solid backup to the piece. Dialogue retains presence across the front and centre channels, and the track is - much like the video - a solid, albeit not quite demo, experience.
ExtrasAlthough not comprehensive, there's still a nice selection of extra features, with a couple of minutes of Deleted Scenes, a trio of Featurettes - George Clooney: The Money Man; Inside the Pressure Cooker; and Analysis of a Scene: The Showdown, as well as a Music Video and some Preview Trailers.
VerdictAn efficient, taut and effective little thriller that's worth checking out
Money Monster is an efficient, taut and effective thriller that is certain to both entertain and educate. Sony's region free UK Blu-ray release provides strong video and audio as well as a reasonable selection of extra features, and is worth picking up for fans of the film or its stars, although a rental is probably the best move to test the waters and see if this one is a keeper for you.
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