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Film / Money Monster

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Money Monster is a 2016 thriller film directed by Jodie Foster. The film's story involves Lee Gates (George Clooney), a TV personality for a financial cable show called "Money Monster" that investigates the various financial positions of public companies. His show mostly consists of bombastic sketches and wild exaggerations of various financial situations, instead of actual journalism. It's earned Gates a steady paycheck though, and everything seems well.

However, the large corporation IBIS Global Capital undergoes a massive loss in its stock earnings, losing around $800 million dollars, allegedly, due to a computer glitch. Not long after, a deliveryman named Kyle bursts into the studio during one of Gates's shows and holds everyone inside hostage. Armed with a gun and fitting Gates with an explosive vest triggered by a Dead Man Switch, Kyle demands that the broadcast continue and that the real reason behind IBIS loss be made public. With his own personality and the help of his director Patty (Julia Roberts), Gates must not only find out the truth behind the monetary loss, but also find out how to escape the situation alive.


This movie provides examples of:

  • Anti-Villain: Kyle is a Well-Intentioned Extremist looking to expose what he believes is a corporate cover-up. After he's revealed to be right and especially that the bomb is a fake, he becomes an Unscrupulous Hero and completely loses the villain angle.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Kyle invested $60,000 dollars he inherited from his mother in IBIS stock, just in time for it to go through the $800 million loss. Pretty much everybody points out how stupid that was of him to do.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Even though the first thing Kyle does is fire his gun to prove that it's real, and it's onscreen pretty much whenever he is from then on, it's still a shock when Ron actually gets shot with it.
  • The Conspiracy: Kyle hijacks Money Monster because he believes that there is one of these going on at IBIS, and it is intent on hiding the true reasons behind the $800 million loss. He turns out to be right.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Big Bad Walt Camby turns out to be this, taking large funds from the IBIS company and using it to invest in a South African mine that could net them a billion dollar profit once he bribed a union leader to lift a strike. And Avery at least also qualifies as The Dragon as he made it his mission to cover up everything.
    • Averted with Diane Lester who is the only Ibis executive who actively helps the main characters uncover the conspiracy.
  • Dead Man Switch: The vest Kyle puts on Lee has this feature, and Kyle has to keep the trigger pressed in his hand to prevent it from going off. This is the primary reason the cops don't immediately try to shoot Kyle when they have a chance.
  • Foreshadowing: The fact that the bomb is fake is foreshadowed twice during the movie:
    • Among the many things that Kyle's girlfriend yells at him during her "The Reason You Suck" Speech is to wonder since when does he know how to build bombs.
    • The NYPD bomb expert points out that Kyle placed the receiver for the detonator in a spot where it can be shot off without instantly killing the person wearing the vest, indicating to the audience that Kyle really doesn't know a lot about making suicide vests.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Kyle is an everyday deliveryman who manages to take a widely viewed cable show hostage on-air and keep the police at bay for a long time with just a handgun and an explosive vest (even if it's fake). On top of that, he's able to initiate an investigation into IBIS by coercing a confession out of the CEO and ruining their plans.
  • Global Ignorance: Lee Gates thinks Swahili is South Africa's official language. He's called out for this.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Diane Lester, Chief Communications Officer for IBIS, is the only person in the company who makes a genuine effort to help the hostages in the studio by coming up with the answers Kyle wants.
  • Hostage Situation: Kyle sneaks into Lee's studio and takes him hostage on live television in order to force IBIS to give him some answers.
  • Humiliation Conga: Camby's fraud is exposed on live television, he faces SEC investigation, and he is humiliated on the internet.
    • An enraged Gates punches Camby in the face right in front of the cops, who are so disgusted with him they refuse to arrest Gates.
  • Irony: The only person at IBIS genuinely concerned with transparency and getting to the bottom of what caused the $800 million loss is the company's chief communications officer, whose job description basically amounts to spinning bullshit that will make the company look good.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Walt Camby is a complete and utter tool, but he is not wrong when he points out that nobody was asking any questions about the shady things he was doing so long as he kept making money for his investors.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gates.
  • Large Ham: In-Universe whenever Lee is on the air. Not surprising considering he seems to draw heavy inspiration from Jim Cramer.
  • Mad Bomber: Kyle is threatening to blow Lee to kingdom come with an explosive vest if he does not get the answers he seeks. It's a bluff.
  • Mega-Corp: IBIS Global Capital is this within the film, being a powerful and virtually unquestioned business that was attempting a risky investment that lost the $800 million of stockholder money.
  • Memetic Mutation: In-Universe. Walt Camby's reaction to Kyle throwing the bomb's trigger at him has become the subject of humorous edits on Youtube come the end of the movie.
  • Mood Whiplash: Gates' ridiculously over the top theatrics on prior shows contrast the very real situation transpiring live. Indeed when people initially tune in they think the hostage situation is another silly gimmick.
  • Never My Fault: Played with. Kyle initially holds this viewpoint, blaming both Lee Gates for (exaggeratedly) suggesting his viewers buy IBIS stock and Walt Camby for allegedly (later proven correct) causing the $800 million dollar loss. He conveniently ignores the fact that he himself had to willingly buy $60,000 worth of IBIS stock for this to happen, an amount that almost no middle or lower class American with a modicum of common sense would try to buy. He eventually realizes how wrong he is when his pregnant girlfriend tears him a new one by pointing out how moronic this action was. Now of course, this still doesn't change the fact that stupidity is less than a good reason to swindle people of all their money, but Kyle's continued denial of any kind of fault in the matter (he blames Lee more for his stage show promoting IBIS stock than his own personal decision to actually buy the stock) that makes him come off as this trope.
    • By the end of the day, while Camby's actions ARE inexcusable, it is wrong of Kyle to blame Lee for believing Camby's lies since he believed them as well and it was his recklessness that led to his ruin.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lee appears to essentially be a fictionalized version of Jim Cramer.
  • Properly Paranoid: Kyle. It turns out he was right about Camby swindling everyone.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kyle's girlfriend absolutely rips into him live on the air, belittling his manhood, character, choices in life and delivering a coup de grace by announcing that "You cry when we fuck, you pasty little bitch!" Even the audience is shocked.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: All the events of the movie are kicked off by the fact that Mambo, the South African mining union leader refused to accept the money Camby wanted to bribe him with to lift the strike, causing the $800 million loss at the heart of the plot.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Walt Camby tries to invoke this, saying that businesses are more focused on earning as much money as possible regardless of legality. This turns out to be subverted, however, as the SEC is investigating him by the end of the film and will likely throw him in jail for decades for his swindle. Which of course would never have happened if it wasn't for the chain of events that led to the revelation and the existence of irrefutable evidence of the crime.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: By the end of the film, while the truth is out, few care as much as they should, Walt Camby might not escape justice but there are still no measures taken to prevent history from repeating itself, Kyle's dead, and the American public has quickly moved on without learning their lesson. The only potential benefit of the whole ordeal us that Lee and Patty will continue to work together, but it's unknown if Lee will reshape his show to be more substance and less flash.
  • Shoot the Hostage: The police intend to do this to Lee. Downplayed and justified; they are going for a nonlethal shot to the kidney to destroy the receiver on the explosive vest, and they figure Lee has an 80 percent chance of surviving it. Lee eventually learns of their plan and dodges the bullet.
  • Suicide by Cop: How Kyle goes out in the end.
  • Suicide Mission: Kyle goes into the studio fully aware that he's probably not going to survive his hostage-taking.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Kyle has an extremely easy time getting into the studio because all the security guards in the building seem to be lazy, incompetent or both.
  • Tempting Fate: At the beginning of the movie, Patty complaints that what they do isn't real journalism.
  • Wham Line: "It's not a real bomb."
    • Despite being obviously taken aback, Lee instructs Kyle to keep pretending it's real because he realizes that the cops would tear Kyle apart before they got to Camby if they knew it was fake.

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