The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Movie Review:
Money Monster

May 23, 2016

A delivery guy, Kyle, wants answers. His money disappeared. He invested money he got when his grandmother died. He was assured it was a sure thing. Where did it go? How does this even happen? Angry and frustrated, he takes hostage the TV guy, Lee Gates (George Clooney), who told him the investment was more secure than his savings account. Lee is arrogant and naïve. He has been wined and dined by the Wall Street players. He thinks he is a peer but he is only a tool for them. His TV show, with all its gimmicks and catchphrases, helps maintain the con game. Keep people playing at the world's biggest casino – Wall Street. Money Monster takes on Wall Street, so-called "glitches," TV shows that give financial advice and how these things affect regular people.

One thing the movie doesn't touch is capitalism itself. The movie doesn't look at the layoffs, stagnant wages, and speed-up – all the things that make Wall Street possible. The movie with its populist message is reminiscent of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Sanders or even Trump could have written the script.

The movie points out how Wall Street is a big casino and things are rigged against small investors, against workers who try to make it big. That fact isn’t wrong. But the problem with Wall Street is not simply immoral, greedy people – even if they are immoral and greedy. It's not about one bad man. Capitalism has evolved over time. Now, financial capital – the very real "money monster” – is taking over the planet. It is laying waste to cities all over this country in much the same destructive way that Godzilla would.

Today, companies don't invest in their workforce or in production. Instead, they roll the dice on Wall Street. The working class gets only a small fraction of the wealth it produces. There is some evidence in the dilapidated schools our children are subjected to, roads that chew up our cars for breakfast, lead in our drinking water, the list is a mile long.

Money Monster is still worth the investment if only to see Kyle keep questioning, keep refusing to accept any more lies and excuses from arrogant rich men.