Director: Jodie Foster
Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe
This review is spoiler free!
Financial TV host Lee Gates (George Clooney) and his producer Patty (Julia Roberts) are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor (Jack O’Connell) takes over their studio. (Source: IMDB)
I had quite high hopes for this film based on the trailers, and I’ll start off by saying it didn’t quite meet my expectations. But we’ll get to that later, first let’s take a look at the good points.
For me, the real highlight of this film was Jack O’Connell as down on his luck Kyle Budwell. O’Connell is an absolutely captivating performer, and he managed to easily compete with Clooney and Roberts, two actors who have been in the game a lot longer than he has. There was great depth to his character and whilst he might seem like the bad guy, I was on his side almost from the start.
Indeed all the performances in this are great; Clooney and Roberts are both on excellent form. George Clooney nails the smarmy suaveness of the TV host role, but there’s a great deal more to this character which is great to watch unfold. Julia Roberts gives a precise and measured performance and there’s great chemistry between her and Clooney as you’d expect.
This film had some really interesting points to make about exploitative journalism, and whilst very much exaggerated, some of it will ring true. It’s also a very interesting commentary on modern media; there’s a particularly amusing example of a serious situation being turned into a vine/meme which a lot of people will always identify with.
It also shows how quickly we as a society can go from being gripped by an event to carrying on with our lives. There’s an event that happens at the end which I won’t spoil, and initially I felt it was resolved rather off-hand, but coupled with some of the scenes that follow, it ended up as a really clever way of demonstrating how short our attention spans are.
This film felt like it had a lot to say and whilst this is to be applauded, I think some bits got lost in transmission. Which brings us onto…
There’s a lot to like about this film, but I had real problems with the execution of it.
I guess it’s frustrating when I can see so much potential in a film, and where a lot of things worked, there were so many things which didn’t. This could’ve been a really tight, tense, single location thriller with greater focus on the three main characters, but it just feels a little too big for its boots, too full of itself, and with too many points to try and prove.
I completely lost my investment (excuse the pun!) in this film whenever there was a scene outside the film studio, and there’s plenty of them! It’s a short film as well (99 minutes), and it could’ve worked in this tighter space, but it just tries to do too much.
Tonally it felt all up the shoot as well. Films can be funny and tense, but it just felt a bit sloppy and confused in tone which took away from my enjoyment in the story.
I saw this movie so you don’t have to. Really disappointed by this one! Whilst the cast are great, and I like some of the points it is making and it’s observations of modern media, I can’t look past the film it could’ve and maybe should’ve been. I’m sure there’ll be those who enjoy, but it gets the thumbs down from me.
Agree with everything I’ve said or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below.
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Great review, I found this to be quite gripping mainly due to the direction and the performances. I agree though that if more of it could’ve been set in the studio it could have been a bit better.
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