The Hippo


Jul 21, 2019








All the Money in the World

All The Money in the World (R)
Film reviews by Amy Diaz

By Amy Diaz

All The Money in the World (R)

Christopher Plummer saves the day in All The Money in the World, a fascinating bit of movie trivia and OK movie.
The trivia: as was widely reported, and as you may have noticed in early trailers, this movie (which is based on the real-life 1973 kidnapping of one of the grandsons of world’s richest man J. Paul Getty) once starred Kevin Spacey as Getty. After sexual misconduct allegations came out about Spacey, director Ridley Scott recast the role with Christopher Plummer and reshot the Getty scenes. In addition to being a clever way of saving the work of everyone else in the movie, this reshoot probably got Scott a better Getty. Plummer is 88 (versus Spacey’s 58) and Getty is supposed to be about 80 during the events of this movie. Plummer, the best part of the recent The Man Who Invented Christmas, can really get to the motivations and emotions of this kind of guy — rich, used to being obeyed and, deep down, maybe hurt and scared. He makes him a rounded person, which gives his more villainous moments more depth and keeps him from just being a live-action Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.
Though Getty could easily find the $17 million kidnappers ask for when they take teenage John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer; no relation to Christopher according to IMDb), his first instinct is to say no to any amount of dollars. Gail Getty (Michelle Williams), Paul’s mom and ex-wife of Getty’s drug-addicted son (Andrew Buchan), begs for help but Getty’s only response is to send, whether she likes it or not, Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg), an ex-CIA officer who handles Getty’s security and negotiations. Chase is meant to negotiate for Paul’s release — for significantly less than $17 million — and to find him. 
At first, Chase believes that Paul somehow crafted his own kidnapping as a way of getting money from his tight-fisted grandfather. But then Chase comes to realize what Gail believes and we in the audience know for certain: Paul is indeed being held against his will and by men whose patience is wearing thin.
Coming in at two hours and 12 minutes, All the Money in the World is maybe 20 minutes longer than it needs to be with a few scenes that seem to exist only For Your Oscar Consideration. Though Plummer does good work here, it’s Williams who shines.  She is a grieving terrified mother who has to pull herself together and act strategically if she wants to save her son. To some degree, she must fight everyone — Getty, Chase, the Italian police, the ever-present gaggle of reporters — to keep efforts to find and rescue her son alive. I’ve seen six of the 10 Golden Globe-nominated best actress performances and I’d put Williams just above the middle of the pack of those performances, which were all, to my mind, a B+ or better.
The rest of the movie falls into the “huh, interesting” category: the look at life in 1970s Italy (where the action takes place), the biographical bits about Getty, Gail’s fabulous 1970s outfits. A tighter edit might have given the movie more energy; conversely more backstory about Getty might have given the movie more context and wider significance. As it is, All the Money in the World is totally middle-of-the-awards-season-pack fine. B
Rated R for language, some violence, disturbing images and brief drug content, according to the MPAA. Directed by Ridley Scott with a screenplay by David Scarpa (based on a book by John Pearson), All the Money in the World is two hours and 12 minutes long and distributed by Tristar Pictures. 

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