Director Jodie Foster and her screenwriting team certainly understand the economics of the movie business: If you’re going to attempt a story about the manipulative complexity of American corporate avarice, you’d better throw some genre elements at that story. But they fumble with the balance of those elements in this tale of a cable-financial-network TV host named Lee Gates (George Clooney) and his long-time director (Julia Roberts) whose live program is taken hostage by working-class investor Kyle (Jack O’Connell), who’s furious that one of Gates’ “can’t-miss” tips cost him everything. The narrative bounces between character drama, paper-chase suspense and siege thriller, attempting to build intensity into this journey towards learning that maybe, just maybe, someone was gaming the system. It just never finds anything new or compelling to say about the people whose wheeling and dealing crushes ordinary lives, or even the short-attention-span media landscape that turns dangerous people into goofy memes. While Clooney may excel at playing a shallow huckster getting woke, this is a morality play that only plays to those looking for a Bernie Sanders stump speech in cinematic form.
Director: Jodie Foster
Producer: Lara Alameddine, George Clooney, Daniel Dubiecki, Grant Heslov, Tim Crane, Kerry Orent, Regina Sculley and Ben Waisbren
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Denham, Lenny Venito, Chris Bauer, Dennis Boutsikaris, Emily Meade, Condola Rashad, Aaron Yoo and Greta Lee