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Money Monster hits political nerve

dpadpa 13/05/2016 Andrew McCathie

Jodie Foster says the kind of rage displayed by Jack O'Connell in Money Monster represents what many feel about the abuses of financial systems.

Hollywood stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts have grabbed the Cannes' spotlight, presenting a new fast-paced thriller that probes the sense of frustration and anger about political life felt by many around the world.

In the movie from US director Jodie Foster, Clooney stars as celebrated TV financial guru Lee Gates, who is taken hostage by an irate investor armed with a gun and an explosive vest while Roberts plays his harassed producer, Patty Fenn frantically trying to release him.

The hostage taker represented "a kind of rage that a lot of people feel about the abuses of technology and the abuses of the financial system and being left behind," 53-year-old Foster told a Cannes press conference marking the film's premiere.

She went on to say that in a sense these were the themes that the presumptive Republican Party candidate Donald Trump has made part of his campaign for president.

Foster's Money Monster also adds to the list of movies that have been made about the darker side of global finance such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Margin Call and The Big Short.

Money Monster shows the dramatic standoff - portrayed as being broadcast on live TV - between the Clooney character and the hostage taker Kyle Budwell, played by up-and-coming British-born actor Jack O'Connell.

"This is sort of now reflecting that we've gotten used to idea that some schmuck can get on TV an tell you where to put your money and then they listen to him and people lose money in real life," said Clooney.

In the case of Kyle Budwell in Money Monster, he wants to know what happened to a 60,000-dollar venture that vanished overnight.

Money Monster marks 48-year-old Roberts' first appearance at the festival despite a movie career stretching back to the 1980's.

The last time that Roberts and Clooney appeared together on the silver screen was 12 years ago in the heist comedy Ocean's Twelve.

Foster, who began her acting career at age 3, is a Cannes' favourite after making her first appearance at the festival aged 12 in Taxi Driver.

A two-time Oscar winner, Foster has also acted in such hits Alice Doesn't Live Anymore and The Silence of the Lambs. But more recently described directing as her true passion.

For her part, Roberts ruled out directing, saying she knew her limitations. "I can't have more than four people ask me a question in one hour," she said.

Money Monster is one of a slew of US films being screened in this year's Cannes, including Arkansas-born director Jeff Nichols' hard-hitting take on inter-marriage in 1950s America and a drama from Sean Penn set in war-torn Liberia.

Penn and Nichols' films are two of the 21 movies competing for the festival's prestigious prizes, including the Palme d'Or for best picture.

Veteran US director Woody Allen's Cafe Society, a light and nostalgic look at Hollywood in the 1930's, opened the 11-day festival on Wednesday amid unprecedented security following the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks.

Like Cafe Society, Money Monster was screened as an out of competition film in Cannes, which means that it is not in the running for any prizes.

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