All the Money In the World (2017)
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Directed by: Ridley Scott
Cast: Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Charlie Plummer
All the Money In the World chronicles the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer), grandson of oil tycoon John Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) the founder of Getty Oil. Through these events it gives a glimpse of the character of John Paul Getty, the richest man in the world.
It is based in the year 1973, when the oil tycoon was estimated to be richest in the world. One night his grandson gets kidnapped from the streets of Rome, Italy. With a ransom of $17 million on his head, his mother Gail (Michelle Williams) reaches out to the old man in the hope that he will pay to save his beloved grandson’s life. But the recently divorced mother finds out to her shock that he has publicly announced that he will not pay. He asks Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) his chief business negotiator and a former CIA operative to investigate and negotiate the minimum amount to secure Paul’s release.
At this point of time, the story is told in a non linear format and through the flashbacks it is revealed that Gail divorced John Paul Jr (Andrew Buchan) recently and had refused alimony in return for the custody of her 4 kids. Everything has a price” and what is the price her father in law who has “All the money in the world” willing to pay.
The movie is a suspense- but the suspense is not whether Gail and Chase free Paul but whether Paul will pay. The scenes are tense and you are gripped till the end. Christopher Plummer has done a tremendous job playing a heartless penny-pincher especially as he was a last minute addition after the Kevin Spacey ouster following the sexual abuse allegations. (I would have loved to see Kevin Spacey- however abhorrent human he might be but we cant deny he is a great actor.) The movie is about J Paul Getty and what it takes to be rich (and not just to get rich) He would give Scrooge a run for his money. The fact that he gives only that part of ransom money for which he will get tax exemption shows how money minded he is.
But All the Money In the World belongs to Michelle Williams who is brilliant as a desperate mother fighting a seemingly losing cause. On one side she is dealing with the kidnappers with whom she cant reason and on the other side is her former father in law. Also she has to deal with the public who thinks she is rich but unwilling to pay the ransom. In fact seeing her ordeal brings a change in Chase. After every call from kidnappers she goes begging with a smile even though Getty treats her like dirt. It might be Michelle Williams’ finest performance and at least deserves an Oscar nomination.
Mark Wahlberg has given a good performance and his character transformation brings out the gravity of the whole situation specially the desperation of Gail v/s the frugality of John Paul. Other noteworthy performance is by Romain Duris as Cinquanta who is one of the captors of Paul. He shows signs of “Lima Syndrome” when he starts caring about Paul and trying to keep him as safe as possible.
All the Money In the World is directed by the master story teller Ridley Scott, has a nice pace to it and is engaging though the second half seems a little stretched out. Scott has been off pace recently but I liked the scenes with Getty being shot dark and greyish hinting that he is a loner. And he has done a brilliant job of redirecting the Kevin spacey scenes- all the shots involving Plummer are seamless.
There is a nice twist in the end when Gail exacts the ultimate revenge on John Paul Getty. Watch it and decide for yourself whether the value of all the paintings and art were more important than the ear.
“No one has ever been richer than you are at this moment. What would it take for you to feel secure?”