Title – All the Money in the World (2017)
Director – Ridley Scott (Blade Runner)
Cast – Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Plummer, Romain Duris
Plot – The true story of oil tycoon John Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) and his refusal to pay the ransom money for his kidnapped grandson John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) in the early 70’s which lead to an event that captured the attention of the entire world.
“If you can count your money you’re not a billionaire”
Review by Eddie on 02/05/2018
Likely to be forever known as the film that erased Kevin Spacey from its existence, All the Money in the World is in many ways a fair feat of filmmaking in its ability to rearrange its pieces at the last minute and replace one of its key actors with late ring-in Christopher Plummer but Ridley Scott’s passionless affair is, outside of this component, a dull and rather bland telling of an incredible true life story.
An event that griped the world back in the early 70’s, when oil tycoon and renowned billionaire John Paul Getty refused to pay the ransom fee for his kidnapped grandson John Paul Getty III, the story of the Getty’s and this particular time in their life should make for edge of your seat viewing but as has been the case with a large portion of Scott’s more recent films (barring the fun The Martian), Money just never truly threatens to become a genuinely thrilling experience and squanders its chance to be the quintessential portrayal of this world capturing event.
Scott fails to connect us to these characters in any significant way, this is particularly harmful when we feel no connection to the kidnapped John Paul (portrayed here by Charlie Plummer) while the always good Michelle Williams and the more sleepwalking like Mark Wahlberg fail to make much of mark as John Paul’s grieving mother Gail Harris or Getty’s ex-CIA right hand man Fletcher Chase respectively and with this, the chances of Money becoming a truly engaging experience are squashed down by a procession of scenes and scenarios that become rather uninteresting when they should be gripping us tightly and not letting go.
It’s a real shame as you get the sense that Scott in his heyday would’ve made this a more heartfelt and pulse-pounding feature, although screenwriter David Scarpa’s script leaves a lot to desired and the effect of having to re-do much of the films key scenes with the solid and Oscar-nominated Plummer may’ve likely had a much larger domino effect on a film, that feels like it lacked a clear direction, a standout lead and the unfortunate inability to make us care for a bunch of people going through a very public and horrific scenario.
Final Say –
The true life story at the heart of Scott’s film is a highly interesting and potentially thrilling one to be told but All the Money in the World is a cold and pedestrian affair enlivened only by its high quality production shimmer and shine. For a more engaging Getty ride its likely Danny Boyle’s mini-series Trust will be the way to go.
2 farmhouse surgeries out of 5
Man, that’s too bad. Scott seems to have more misses than hits. He’s made 26 movies, but I think only 8 or 9 of them are actually good… but, then, that is 9 good movies. Many directors don’t make that many good movies in their lifetimes. Still…
His last 15 or so years mate have left a lot to desired unfortunately, as you say though, his good films are really good and their aren’t to many filmmakers out there that would have the skill to beat Scott at his best.
So true. Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, The Martian… amazing!
Personally, I liked this movie. However, the overall kidnapping was more overshadowed by Plummer’s performance. The movie was a bit more fascinated when it was focused on J. Paul Getty.
Yeh agreed Jason, I just think it failed to really connect us properly to this collection of characters, made it a very cold film overall.
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Good review, Eddie! I just saw this movie recently and I do agree with some of the things you said in your review. To me, this movie was just ok because it seemed like the creative team behind this project put more focus on creating an”awards potential” film than a truly suspenseful and intriguing movie. It felt like this movie was trying a little too hard to be the next Argo (which has a similar concept, but felt it was effectively building up to the climax). Speaking of “farmhouse surgeries”, when I think about this movie and the other movies I’ve seen this year, I realized that a story-telling trope that I have grown to dislike is when situations or things are placed in a story just for the sake of shock value/ getting a reaction from the audience. For example, the “ear surgery” scene in this movie made me wonder if its inclusion was meant to serve as a significant part of the plot or just for the sake of shocking the audience.
Interesting point! I do think in this age of social media and word of mouth these type of scenes are often incldued in film’s to generate hype and suck people onto seeing a film for very odd reasons.
While what you’re saying is true, to a certain extent, I feel there are better ways of featuring shocking content in a film that serves more to a film’s story and less to, simply, get a reaction out of someone. In the scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, for example, where we discover how Bucky came to be associated with Hydra, it is shocking because of how horrible Bucky is being treated. However, because, at that time, the audience hadn’t really seen the full extent of the damage Hydra was capable of, the scene played a significant role in the film’s narrative. This scene also helped tell an important part of Bucky’s back-story.
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