Film and Plot Synopsis
In the real-time, high stakes thriller, George Clooney and Julia Roberts star as financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty, who are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor who has lost everything forcefully takes over their studio. During a tense standoff broadcast to millions on live TV, Lee and Patty must work furiously against the clock to unravel the mystery behind a conspiracy at the heart of today’s fast-paced, high-tech global markets.
‘Money Monster’ Movie Summary
In the middle of the show, a deliveryman appears on the back of the set with two boxes. The man pulls out a gun and takes Lee hostage. The man, Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), has Lee put on a vest strapped with explosives. Kyle expresses his anger with Lee for endorsing IBIS in previous episodes. Kyle invested his entire life savings, $60,000.00, into IBIS based on Lee’s over eager endorsement. The crash of the stock has made Kyle’s investment almost entirely worthless, and Kyle threatens to blow up Lee and himself unless someone gives him answers.
The police are notified and attempt to negotiate with Kyle, but he hangs up on them. However, they are able to see what is going on in the studio since Lee’s producer, Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts), continues to broadcast the show live. The police formulate a plan to destroy the receiver in Lee’s vest by shooting out the receiver. Unfortunately, this will likely result in Lee being shot, but based on the location of the receiver on the vest, they estimate that he will survive the bullet. Once the vest is deactivated, snipers can safely take out Kyle.
Lee and Patty work together to try to keep Kyle calm. They contact IBIS in the hope of getting Camby on the air, but he is unavailable since he is apparently flying into New York. Diane goes on the air in an attempt to calm Kyle down and prevent IBIS’s stock from cratering any further. However, Kyle, Lee, and Patty all find her talking point answers unsatisfactory. Patty begins to work behind the scenes to investigate why the stock crashed. At the same time, Diane begins to do the same at IBIS. Diane defies her co-workers and contacts a programmer who designed the algorithm that managed the investment fund. The programmer, Won Joon (Aaron Yoo), tells Diane that the algorithm could not take such a large, lopsided position unless someone purposefully messed with it.
Meanwhile, Lee tries to appeal to his audience for help. He asks them to purchase IBIS’s depressed stock in mass to drive the value of the investment back up so that Kyle would regain his money. However, the appeal fails and the investment continues to fall. At the same time, the New York Police Department find Kyle’s pregnant girlfriend, Molly (Emily Meade), and bring her down to the building to attempt to talk Kyle into surrendering. However, Molly berates him on live television to the point the police cut the line. With few other options available, Lee promises Kyle that he will help him figure out what went wrong at IBIS.
At the airport, Camby returns. Diane meets him at the airport and discovers that he was not in Geneva, but in Johannesburg after she looks at his passport. Diane also looks at Camby’s phone when he is not looking at. She informs Patty of her discoveries, and the television producer contacts some hackers to seek the truth about Camby’s actions. In the studio, a police sniper attempts to shot out the receiver, but Lee is alerted by Patty at the last minute and is able to get out of the way. Lee resorts to actively helping Kyle now to prevent from being shot himself. Lee shields the receiver with Kyle’s body, and the two leave the studio and begin walking to the Federal Hall National Memorial down the street where Camby is heading according to Diane.
The pair are accompanied by a cameraman, Lenny (Lenny Venito), who keeps the live footage coming. They are met by an army of police and mobs of people cheering and jeering both Kyle and Lee. While in route, Kyle informs Lee that the vest is filled with normal clay and not explosives, but Lee doesn’t give up on Kyle or tell the police that there is no danger of an explosion.
Once they arrive at the Hall, Camby begins to give the same talking point answers that Diane was giving earlier, and Kyle begins to become angry. Kyle has Lee put the vest onto Camby. Lee, working with Patty’s assistance, begins to confront the CEO with the information that Patty has uncovered with Diane’s assistance. Lee reveals that Camby bribed a South African miners’ union to go on strike so that IBIS could make an $800 million investment in a platinum mine while the union was on strike. The strike worked and Camby invested $800 million into the mine.
However, the union stayed on strike which further depressed the value of the initial investment. Camby attempted to bribe the union leader, Moshe Mambo (Makhaola Ndebele), to end the strike, but Mambo refused and continued the strike. The bad investment, which was not driven by the algorithm, resulted in the $800 million right off in the investment fund.
Camby admits to his wrongdoing on live television after Kyle threatens to kill him, but states that he didn’t doing anything illegal. Satisfied with the answer, Kyle throws the detonator for the vest to Camby allowing the police to shoot him in the chest. Kyle dies on camera despite Lee’s protests to get an ambulance. Lee punches Camby in the face, disgusted with both his and Camby’s greed and corruption. The film ends with Camby being charged with violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the SEC announcing that IBIS will be investigated.