“All the Money in the World” stars Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, Christopher Plummer, and Charlie Plummer. Released on December 25, 2017, the film is about a mother and her attempts to convince a rich oil tycoon to pay the ransom for her son’s release.
The film is directed by Ridley Scott, who also directed films such as Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, and The Martian. It is based on the book, Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty, by John Pearson. I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas because we got ourselves another award-potential movie to look at. This latest project from director Ridley Scott sees him tackling a fact-based event that showcases the kidnapping of the grandson of the world’s richest man. Originally, Kevin Spacey was supposed to play the role of J. Paul Getty, but due to the amount of sexual harassment and sexual assault accusations being released against him, he was replaced by Christopher Plummer at the last minute after shooting had finished. So clearly, they spent an extra ton of money to reshoot all of Spacey’s scenes with Plummer a few weeks before its official release. No wonder the word “money” is in the title. This last-minute effort seems to be pulling off quite well, with Plummer receiving a Golden Globe nomination for his supporting role, along with Michelle Williams for Best Actress and Scott for Best Director. To be honest, as much as I would like to see Spacey take on the role, I actually didn’t mind having Plummer filling in Getty’s shoes instead since he did such fine work in The Man Who Invented Christmas. Would he be able to impress me again in this? I would highly think so, but let’s find out anyway.
The story takes place in 1973, where a 16-year-old (Charlie Plummer) gets taken by an organized crime ring. The captive, John Paul Getty III, happens to be the grandson of J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer). When his mother, Gail Harris (Williams), discovers that the kidnappers demand a ransom of $17 million from her, she attempts to implore Getty to pay for his son’s release. Unfortunately, it’s no easy task. With the help of a former CIA operative, Fletcher Chase (Wahlberg), Gail will stop at nothing to make sure her son gets home in one piece. While it’s not a perfect dramatization of the 1973 kidnapping, the film does well in getting me invested with the story and the characters due to its impressive cinematography and Ridley Scott’s direction. Christopher Plummer and Mark Wahlberg were proper standouts as J. Paul Getty and Fletcher Chase, respectively. Scott was able to respect Getty’s understandable reason as to why he refuses to pay the ransom, and Plummer’s effort in bringing this person to life is something that is definitely worth more than money. Wahlberg was also pretty convincing as a CIA operative. I guess after battling some giant transforming robots and being a stepdad, he needed a role that’s more “down to Earth” and “dramatic”. Michelle Williams also gave out a solid performance as Gail, but it’s not enough to convince me that she deserves a Golden Globe win. As for the flaws, the film does move at a slow pace from time to time, and its attempts at providing some dramatic thrills were slightly below average. Despite its pacing and running time, I did not see a single dull moment in sight.
Overall, “All the Money in the World” is far from perfect, but Ridley Scott succeeds in delivering an engaging and well-acted take on the fact-based event. While its pacing may turn off some viewers who aren’t into slow-moving films, the talented cast and Scott’s investing direction are enough for me to warrant a recommendation. If they’re able to re-release the movie with Kevin Spacey’s scenes, I will probably take a look at it as well, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up since it might be impossible for them to do.