Blu-ray Review Crime

'Money Monster' Blu-ray Review: Clooney and Roberts bring star power to hostage thriller

September 6, 2016Ben MK

When we last saw George Clooney and Julia Roberts on-screen together, he was playing the lead in Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's trilogy, and she was his love interest. Fast forward a decade or so, and Roberts is once again playing the woman behind Clooney's character; only this time, he's the outspoken host of a popular financial television show, and she's his longtime producer.

In Money Monster, Clooney and Roberts star as Lee Gates and Patty Fenn, two people caught up in a bizarre, on-air hostage situation when a man named Kyle Budwell (Jack O'Connell) storms the set of Lee's show, Money Monster. An investor in a company called Ibis Clear Capital, Kyle lost his entire life savings when the company experienced what they call "a glitch" in their investment algorithm. Now Kyle wants Ibis' CEO, Walt Camby (Dominic West), to explain what happened to his money, and he's prepared to go to any lengths to get some answers.

In the scenes that follow, Money Monster more or less delivers what you might expect, as Kyle — your prototypical "little guy" who's been victimized by a greater evil (in this case, the big banks) — is driven to commit drastic acts out of sheer desperation. That being said, director Jodie Foster and writers Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore and Jim Kouf do manage to mix it up by throwing a few curveballs at the audience, livening up the drama and breaking the tension with frequent and funny jabs at the state of both mainstream journalism and social media.

Ultimately, what that means for Money Monster is that it isn't so much a hostage thriller as it is a satire of modern media, not to mention a finger-wagging condemnation of corporate America. Otherwise, the main highlight of the movie is the effortless back-and-forth between Clooney and Roberts; and despite the fact that O'Connell plays the man who instigates the whole scenario, the movie never fails to impress upon audiences that they're the real stars.

Money Monster arrives on Blu-ray with a perfectly competent 1080p visual presentation; and while it isn't particularly dazzling, it certainly gets the job done. Picture quality is clear, whether it's scenes set on a television sound stage, inside an office, or out on the streets of New York City; color saturation is ample and rich, and fleshtones are realistic; and contrast is excellent, with black levels that are deep without loss of shadow detail. Equally impressive is the accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix, which results in crystal-clear dialogue and music, along with the sounds of gunshots, police sirens and street-level traffic.

Sony's single-disc Blu-ray release includes an UltraViolet digital copy and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Deleted Scenes (2:23) - Three scenes ("Global Opening," "Let Me Speak to the Quant" and "Molly's Exit Rant").
  • George Clooney: The Money Man (5:27) - A piece about Clooney's performance, his character, and his character's arc throughout the film.
  • Inside the Pressure Cooker (9:55) - A look at the movie's subject matter and tone, the cinematography and editing, Clooney's and Roberts' performances, and Foster's direction.
  • Analysis of a Scene: The Showdown (7:09) - A spoiler-filled look at the movie's climactic sequence, and the logistics of filming it.
  • Dan the Automator (Feat. Del the Funky Homosapien) "What Makes the World Go 'Round (Money!)" Music Video (3:05) - A video for the song that plays over the film's closing credits.

Money Monster is available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as of September 6th, 2016. The Blu-ray features English, French and Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, Cantonese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 38 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on May 13th, 2016.

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