All the Money in the World
Michelle Williams and Christopher Plummer star in the story of billionaire J.Paul Getty who refuses to pay a $17 million ransom after his grandson is kidnapped.
Ridley Scott's take on the kidnapping of J. Paul Getty's teenage grandson John Paul III hit the headlines way before the start of its promotional campaign thanks to the sexual misconduct scandal that engulfed its star Kevin Spacey.
Scott's quick decision to cut Spacey out of the near-finished film and replace him with Christopher Plummer in the role of Getty ensured his film ended the year as one of the most talked about and highly anticipated.
The 80-year-filmmaker worked with a nimbleness not seen in directors half his age, reshooting 22 scenes in nine days, at a cost of £7 million, in locations across three countries.
He delivered the refinished film in five weeks, still making it in time for a qualifying screening for the Golden Globes. Astonishingly none of that is apparent in the finished film, which with Plummer onboard for a mesmerising turn as the billionaire oil magnate, delivers an absorbing, fascinating story of the ruthless oil baron's greed and obsession with money.
Based on John Pearson's 1995 book Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty, All the Money in the World stars Michelle Williams as Abigail Harris the mother of 16-year-old John Paul (Charlie Plummer), who is abducted on the streets of Rome by the Calabrian Mob on 10 July 1973.
Through flashbacks we learn that Paul's parents are divorced and Gail rejected any alimony in exchange for full custody of her children in the divorce settlement, so she does not have the means to pay the ransom. She travels to Getty's estate to implore him to pay up, but he publicly refuses, stating that it would encourage further kidnappings of his family members.
The media picks up on the story, with many believing Gail to be secretly rich and blaming her for not paying the ransom.
Meanwhile, Getty asks Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg), a Getty Oil negotiator and former CIA operative, to investigate the case and secure Paul's release. He soon becomes Gail's ally against both the kidnappers and the grandfather. And French actor Romain Duris stars as Cinquanta, the English-speaking mouthpiece for the kidnappers.
Williams puts in a strong performance as John Paul's driven mother, who isn't content to sit and wait for her son's return and uses cunning and determination to help get her son back as she squares off against a stubborn Getty. And Wahlberg tones down his action man brawn to play a nicely-judged supporting role to Gail, which hints at a closeness between the pair but stops short of exploring it.
Charlie Plummer shines as the young, handsome, John Paul and his Mick Jagger-esque wardrobe in the early parts of the film shows off his family's glamorous and wealthy roots to full effect. But it's Plummer senior's (no relation) show, as the 88-year-old completely inhabits the role of the power-obsessed, but emotionally distant billionaire in a way that Spacey may have struggled to.
While he is cold and shows more love for his art and beautiful possessions, Plummer still manages to convey the odd chink of warmth particularly between Getty and his grandson.
As you would expect from a Ridley Scott, film the locations are stunning, and the set design and wardrobe are first class. It's all handled very competently, and maybe filmed too much by numbers, but that aside - with all the actors pulling their weight in the ensemble piece, it made perfect sense for all their hard work not to be overshadowed by the Spacey scandal. Objective achieved.
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