Foster appeared with actor Jack O’Connell. He plays an investor who goes ballistic after losing his shirt on a supposedly “can’t lose” stock.
O’Connell’s blue-collar father-to-be, Kyle Budwell, takes out his frustration on bombastic television stock commentator Lee Gates, played by George Clooney and his hapless television crew led by ace producer Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts).
Gates hypes the stock on his show; it soars initially, as unwary investors like Budwell buy in, only to crash “mysteriously” shortly afterward. Of course, Budwell sinks most of his savings into the play. d’oh!
Is Budwell the bad guy? Kinda, sorta, if only because he seeks revenge by taking over Gates’ show at gunpoint and forcing the commentator to wear an explosive vest.
But his only real crime was believing the hype.
So, what about Gates, who hawked the stock? Or let’s face it, the real villains: the Wall Street stock manipulators and high-rollers who play with investors’ life savings like it’s Monopoly money?
Nah, not them either.
“I will say in this film, and this I do in all of my movies; I’m not sure there is really a bad guy,” Foster said during a Q&A session as part of the AOL Build Series.
“Everybody has a point of view,” she continued.
“Even the guy in our film who is doing some tricky business, at the end of the day, he says: ‘Nobody was complaining when I was making you money. Everybody looked the other way. Everybody was just looking for more stocks. But the second I lost something, everyone was concerned.'”
That sounds like the Bernie Madoff defense. He made investors out-sized returns for years until a down market exposed him as a fraud, operating nothing more than a $50 billion Ponzi Scheme.
In fact, the movie’s characters are thinly veiled, and its premise closely tracks the stock market crash of 2008.
It should come as no surprise that not one major Wall Street figure has gone to jail for nearly wrecking the global financial system back then.
Foster partially redeems herself by later noting that the “system is fixed against people like [Budwell].”
But then she adds, the problem is not the system, but the fact that it is “rife with abuses,” like self-dealing, co-opted regulators and television “infotainment” masquerading as real news.
Um, isn’t that the system?
Check out the video below. Foster starts talking about Wall Street about 13 minutes into the discussion. Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest movie news.