The 2016 film “Money,” recently released to DVD, is a typical thief-rips-off-another-thief thriller. The main character, who plays the role of a newcomer to the neighborhood, surprises two thieving coworkers as they are about to split up their stolen money, and is an excellent example of a strong, masculine man that women are driven to follow.
This character displays most of the positive traits we discuss here at ROK. The film’s female characters also behave in very realistic (and surprising for Hollywood) ways.
The film has five major characters. Two young men, who work together and have schemed a way to rip off their employer for $5 million dollars, their female partners, and the main character, John, played by British actor Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica’s Apollo).
As the film begins, Mark arrives home from work to his wife Sylvia. He and his friend have stolen $5 million from their employer, and are there to celebrate and divide the winnings. The two friends go to the basement to play pool and split up the money. The women are upstairs preparing drinks and dinner for a private celebration. Mark and Sylvia, who are married, and living in a large two-story home with a gardener and maid, are the hosts. The other friend, Sean, is there with his girlfriend Christina. Both men are young and decent looking but rather douchey and ostentatious.
Soon the doorbell rings, and Sylvia, the wife, answers. It is John, dressed sharply and carrying a $1,000 bottle of wine. He introduces himself as a neighbor who is renting a house up the road in a quiet waterfront community, and they chat for a minute. It’s obvious that John is a natural player, and he flirts a bit at the door with the married Sylvia.
John quickly reads Sylvia, and is able to guess the designer of the dress she is wearing. Sylvia is surprised that a man could recognize an expensive designer dress, and asks how he knows. John drops a DHV by saying he once dated a fashion model and purchased a similar dress for her in Milan.
Feeling the tingles, Sylvia can’t help but invite this stranger into her husband’s house. He joins them for drinks, subtly demonstrating more of his knowledge and world experience, and charming the group. He converses with Christina, Sean’s girlfriend, in Spanish. After they have dropped their guard a bit, he indirectly insults Sean as a coward, triggering him to react out of anger. When Sean loses his temper, John quickly subdues him physically, and announces…
I have no intention of harming any of you, unless you make me. I’m a professional. I don’t do drama. Let’s do this quickly, keep it nice and simple. Now if you’d be so kind to bring me the money I’ve come for, I’ll leave right now and you can carry on with your very pleasant evening.
The women, panties now moistened, know nothing of the money. Sylvia asks her husband if there is any money and he denies it (she will later use this as the reason to betray, rob, and divorce him).
John quickly demonstrates he has researched their backgrounds and intimate details and there is no point in lying to him. After things get a bit violent, they soon admit they have the money in the basement on the pool table.
Christina, the girlfriend, is sent downstairs to retrieve the money. She pockets some of it, and returns with one briefcase. The other briefcase with Mark’s half is upstairs in a locked safe. The group argues a lot, with John manipulating the women and turning them against their men.
Rescue is repaid with betrayal
Mark is locked in a room by the pool until the time-lock safe that is holding the second briefcase can be accessed. While they are waiting, the gardener arrives, and Mark frantically tells him to rescue his wife Sylvia when he causes a distraction. Minutes later, John returns, and Mark stalls, giving the gardener time to untie Sylvia in the house.
Mark, when given the opportunity to be rescued by the gardener, does not ask him to call the police, or to be set free, but instead asks to save his wife. Sadly, white knighting, even for one’s own wife, can be dangerous.
Instead of escaping or calling the cops, Sylvia quietly empties one of the briefcases with the money, hiding it and replacing it with a book John commented on earlier that gave her tingles. She sits and waits quietly for John to return, taking the full briefcase and the secretly emptied one as he flees the scene.
After they recover from the tragedy, Sylvia goes upstairs, packs her bags, and walks out, announcing she is divorcing Mark, and secretly taking his share of the money.
John knows game
John has naturally good looks, but what sets him apart from everyone else is his ability to charm, flirt, converse, and casually and naturally have a good time. He is confident, calm, and slightly cocky, but without being braggadocious. He is a world traveler, independent, unmarried, self-employed and self-sufficient, funny, intelligent, and mysterious. And of course he has a bad side. He’s somewhat reminiscent of the Patrick Bateman character played by Christian Bale in American Psycho.
While some aspects of game can be faked, charm cannot. John has the natural ability to read and engage a person, modifying his banter and mannerisms to the other party, a quality that President Bill Clinton was well known for.
He drops DHVs casually, first by complimenting Sylvia on her dress, so that he can mention he dated an attractive fashion model (pre-selection) and bought her the same designer’s clothing in Italy (showing taste, wealth, travel). Unlike other men who display their wealth by driving fancy leased import cars and living in exclusive neighborhoods with hired help, John casually intimates that he is independently wealthy, working here and there on his own terms.
Women respond to mystery, independence and self-sufficiency. John quickly dominates the conversation, as the women are much more interested in hearing of his world travelers than their husband’s boring day at the office. John mentions vaguely that he is a consultant:
I just got bored of working for other people, following orders, and wanted to set up my own business, be my own boss.
He has refined tastes, able to recognize fashion designs, and able to discern a slight change Sylvia has made to a cocktail recipe. He remains a gentleman, and never curses, but can match violence or aggression when others bring it. His skills at gaming both men and women allow him to blend into any social situation, and these skills literally opened the door for him to walk away with millions.
The greed of women
In the end, the two coworkers who stole the money are left with nothing, and both of their women leave with the money they have stolen. John steals one briefcase holding half the money, while Sylvia has stolen the money out of the other briefcase. Christina has pocketed perhaps $10,000. Neither man is aware of this. The women could have cooperated with their men, and shared the money with them, but instead they betray their partners for immediate gratification.
In Sylvia’s mind, she justifies divorcing and abandoning her husband because he told her a lie. Yes, he lied to a violent stranger in order to protect his family’s assets and safety, but in her mind, a lie nonetheless. As John threatened the guests, Sylvia asked her husband if there was any money in the house, and he replied no, obviously not wanting to admit to a thief they had millions of dollars in their home. To her, this was an unforgivable sin. However, HER betrayal of her husband, breaking her wedding vows, and her theft and greed are not seen as bad, because feelings.
Women will never take responsibility for their actions, and often will blame others for their behavior. You see, in Sylvia’s mind she didn’t steal anything. The money was already there, and she just “spent it” or however she justifies it in her head. And she only took the money because John lied and denied there was any money. It’s all his fault, you see.
A woman’s moral compass is situational: The right or wrong thing varies based on their feelings and impulses. Even if they make a decision that is universally bad, it will not be regretted later–it will be labeled the choice that others “forced” her to make.
The film is a good video rental. The omniscient bad guy is over the top, as John knows a bit too much about the personal preferences of the others (their favorite foods, art, etc.), much of the plot is predictable, and the steal-from-the-thief plot has been done before. But John, minus the criminal element, is an excellent example of a masculine, confident alpha, and the ending with the female betrayal, is a realistic reminder of the dangers of losing frame and the hypergamy of women.