Money Monster Review

Money Monster

I saw Money Monster with my wife the other week and we both enjoyed it quite a bit.

George Clooney plays Lee Gates, the host of a financial show called Mad Money. Julia Roberts plays his director, Patty.

All seems like it’ll be just another normal day for the show until an armed gunman, played by Jack O’Connell, comes onto the show and threatens to shoot Lee if he doesn’t do what he says.

The gunman pulls out a suicide vest and straps Lee into it. The vest is wirelessly connected to a deadman switch that the gunman, named Kyle, holds in his hand. If Kyle lets go of the switch then the bomb goes off.

While arguing and threatening Kyle explains that he invested his entire savings into a stock named IBIS that Lee previously recommended. The stock has now tanked due to some unknown error.

Lee and Patty work to keep everyone in the studio alive until the police can deal with the situation. Eventually they come to

sympathize with Kyle’s situation and attempt to help him by figuring out what caused the error in IBIS’s trading algorithm.

It’s been a while since I’d seen a story about a deadman switch and Money Monster had a nice little twist with the bomb being on a person that did not have the controller.

The development of Kyle, Patty, and Lee’s characters was well done even if their ultimate conclusions were a little predictable.

The other characters of the story though… Ugh…

The police response is a little laughable. There’s a guy with a bomb! Get a bunch of SWAT there, but no medics!

He’s left the building! Surround him with guns and stand close enough that the bomb will kill a dozen SWAT and the police chief if it goes off!

Let Kyle move through the middle of New York City with a gun and a bomb! Don’t just shoot him and have Lee die as collateral damage!

It’s a deadman switch! Better do something stupid and reckless rather than take advantage of the private line of communication to Lee through his earpiece!

Once the error that caused IBIS’s stock value to fall is explained it feels… unsatisfactory. I don’t want to give it away, but the red herring explanation made a lot more sense than what the script writer ultimately gave us. I feel like the writer wanted to have an unpredictable story but didn’t realize that a predictable one might’ve been better.

I dabble in the stock market and loved that background for the movie. Unfortunately, I knew enough about how the stock market works to know the movie is kind of bullshit.

During the events of the film the stock indexes (DOW, S&P, and NASDAQ) stay relatively flat while IBIS goes down a little bit. This is despite an internationally televised incident with a gunman and a deadman switch in the middle of the financial capital of the USA.

If something like this actually happened and knowledge of it was as immediate and widespread as the movie represents it… You can bet there’d be a more significant reaction.

The stock indexes would go down at least 2 or 3%. IBIS would fall like a stone, going down by at least 10% if not more.

It’s possible that the NYSE would even call a trading halt for the day. They’ve done it before for major strikes, weather events, and 9/11. An event like that in Money Monster might trigger such an emergency shutdown.

This arcane part of the stock market seems to be routinely ignored by movie writers. When the NYSE is actually attacked in Dark Knight Rises, the trades that “Bruce Wayne” did are still considered valid.

I can say with certainty that if something like that happened the trades would NOT be valid. All trades would be rolled back to the previous day and its possible that no trading would be allowed the next day either.

Same thing routinely happens in disaster movies. “How will the disaster affect the stock market?” YOU WON’T FREAKING KNOW THE DAY AFTER THE DISASTER BECAUSE THE NYSE WILL BE CLOSED!

Well… enough of that rant.

Money Monster is a good thriller movie. It’s got good actors, great character development, and a few plotholes, but what movie doesn’t? Go see it. I’m sure you’ll get your money’s worth.


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