Recently, I saw the film Money Monster. George Clooney’s character hosts a television show, directed by Julia Roberts’ character, in which he discusses the stock market. He advised his viewers to invest in a large company, saying it was a safe bet. He truly believed it, and it was a safe bet to make. That is, until the company announced that it lost millions of dollars because of a “glitch” in a computer algorithm used to manage its money.
Then, Jack O’Connell’s character breaks into the set of the show and holds Clooney hostage, demanding information and using Clooney as collateral to do so. Just to be clear, Clooney was not involved in the corruption, he is just a talk show host. At this point, the large corporation seems to be the good guy, the victim even, and the “regular guy” who broke into the set is clearly the villain. Or so it seemed.
The more information they uncovered, the more they realized that O’Connell’s character was right- the company was lying about their loss that sent hundreds of stock owners’ bank accounts into dismay. Clooney ends up teaming up with O’Connell, and the two ultimately uncover that the CEO of the company lied about his own investment, committed fraud, and lost the money. There was no glitch.
Clooney was still technically being held hostage at gunpoint by O’Connell, and at the end of the film, police shot O’Connell.
This film made an extremely compelling commentary on the current situation of government and big corporations. The only way that the average person, O’Connell, could effectively get attention and make his voice heard was to literally wield a gun and demand answers. In the end, he was right- the big corporation lied, committed countless felonies, and lost millions of dollars at the loss of average, every day people who could not afford to lose that money. Meanwhile, the government was on his tail for even asking for answers in the first place, and ended up shooting and killing him before questioning, a trial, or anything of the sort could occur. In spite of being right, in spite of being a catalyst for justice, he was killed. Had there been a trial, O’Connell probably would have served minor time for holding Clooney hostage, although by the end of the film Clooney and O’Connell were working together. Further, he would have lived to see law suits carried out against the CEO of the corporation, who would probably get a life sentence for the extent of his crimes (or so said my best friend’s dad, who is a lawyer and watched the film with us).
How does this relate to our current government and situation? Think about the Native Americans and allies protesting the pipeline out west. Hundreds of them were arrested in a way that was so inhumane, the UN is investigating the United States based on human rights issues. Hundreds of women have reported being beaten by police, arrested, handcuffed with no charges and no legal counsel, no Miranda rights, a number was written on their body with permanent ink, and they were held in dog kennels. Media imitates life imitates media.