Ridley Scott Pulls Off the Impossible with ‘All the Money in the World’

GameStop, Inc.

All the Money in the World

The kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III in 1973 was an international tabloid sensation. The grandson of the world’s richest man was abducted for ransom and the miserly oil tycoon held steadfast in his refusal to pay for his grandson’s release. Today, the tabloids are overflowing with stories of sexual misconduct by power players in Hollywood, powerful men toppling like bowling pins as decades of bad behavior comes to light. One of the more prominent figures to fall was Kevin Spacey, and in an unprecedented move, director Ridley Scott excised the disgrace actor from his drama All the Money in the World, about the Getty kidnapping, and replaced him with Christopher Plummer – this, mind you, all occurring a month before the film’s scheduled release date. Amazingly, Ridley Scott pulled off this nigh-impossible feat and All the Money in the World is hitting its planned release date. The film is a sleek historical drama with a strong undercurrent about the perils of endless wealth and fame.

All the Money in the World opens in Italy in 1973. Scott’s film starts in black and white as J. Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer, no relation to Christopher) strolling along the Italian streets in what appears to an homage to Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. The young Getty stops and chats with local prostitutes before a van pulls up and seizes the young heir.

With the inciting event kicking off All the Money in the World, Ridley Scott and screenwriter David Scarpa (adapting John Pearson’s book) are able to trace the path that led the Getty family to these terrifying events. J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) made a fortune in oil, striking deals with the Saudi royal family and devising previously unrealized of ways to transport the oil from the Middle East to all over the world. By the ‘60s, J. Paul Getty II (Andrew Buchan) has had little contact with his wealthy father, raising a family in San Francisco with his wife Gail (Michelle Williams). At his wife’s behest, the Getty son sends his father a letter. The elder Getty responds with a telegram asking for the family to meet him in Rome. In Rome, J. Paul Getty II is offered a job and the patriarch of the wealthy family grows a bond with J. Paul III, supplying the young man with a valuable trinket and other forms of self-mythologizing about his family lineage. As the years progress, J. Paul II finds himself deep into addiction and Gail files for divorce, leading to a contentious split where the cheapskate billionaire father intervenes, treating the family split as a business transaction. All of this backstory serves to set up the icy coldness that J. Paul Getty uses as a tool in business that deprived him of meaningful human connection to those he claimed to love, and further illustrate how he can be indifferent to the harm committed to his grandson.

With the young Getty in captivity on the Italian countryside with Cinquanta (Romain Duris) overseeing his food and handling ransom negotiations, the elder Getty brings in Fletcher Chase (Mark Whalberg) to utilize his skills acquired from his time in the CIA and his new career cutting deals for Getty’s company to devise a way to bring back the capture J. Paul III. Eventually, Cinquanta and his cohorts grow tired of J. Paul Getty’s intransigence and sell the grandson to a criminal cartel who are much more ruthless. As the situation gets more and more dire for the younger Getty, Gail and Fletcher must evade the relentless paparazzi, deal with a corrupt and inept police force, and pray that J. Paul Getty may find some form of conscience that may inspire him to part with just a fraction of his massive wealth.

With one minor exception, the way in which Ridley Scott was able seamlessly to replace Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer is nothing short of amazing. This doesn’t feel like a movie that recast and reshot a major role a month ago, and Plummer’s role is quite large and integral to the film. Christopher Plummer does deliver a strong performance as the cold and immensely wealthy Getty (though I don’t know if it’s exactly worthy of its Golden Globe nomination). The script by David Scarpa and Plummer’s performance bring forth a portrait of man consumed by greed, placing more value in possessions and wealth than in love and family. All he ever loved was money so he believed that people only loved him for his money. Ridley Scott uses this defining character trait for some rather clever scenes of misdirection, ones that really bring forth some of the most cringe-inducing aspects of Getty’s callousness. Scott’s examination of Getty’s greed and indifference take the story into some fascinating places, such as the mogul using the kidnapping as a means to get a modest tax break.

All the Money in the World is superbly acted all around. Most of the chatter of the movie will be focused on Christopher Plummer and the unusual circumstances that brought him to the screen, but it’s really Michelle Williams who anchors the story. Gail is a strong, smart woman forced into unthinkable circumstances in more ways than one. Williams brings a combination of strength and weariness to Gail that is easy to empathize with, and Gail also is given moments in the film that highlights a keen ability to creatively think on the fly amidst unthinkable levels of personal stress and grief. As the young kidnapped heir, Charlie Plummer brings a vulnerability that was present in his indie breakout King Jack. Plummer creates a fascinating onscreen bond with Romain Duris’ Cinquanta that is more complicated than the simple explanation of Stockholm syndrome. For an international film that is taking place across multiple countries and multiple moments in time, Ridley Scott does an excellent job of keeping the film rather localized in its character dynamics, which are often focused on two interchanging characters with clear objectives.

Ridley Scott continues to work at an incredible rate – All the Money in the World is his second film this year following Alien: Covenant – and the legendary filmmaker is keenly able to make a sharp thriller based on true events that is localized in the characters for its drama but draws upon broader societal trends for its themes. Here is a story of celebrity and greed, something that is all too familiar these days; a story of self-inflating myth at the cost of personal relationships; a story of sacrificing someone else’s wellbeing for just a little more money. These aspects to the Getty story are present in various facets of modern society, seemingly more and more with each passing day. Then, in case you missed it, Ridley Scott concludes All the Money in the World with a powerful, haunting final shot that brings this tragedy to a close. It’s amazing that Ridley Scott pulled off this incredible retooling of his film in less than a month before its release, but it’s more amazing that the film is so insightful and thrilling as it speaks to the past and present.

All the Money in the World
  • Overall Score
3.5

Summary

A sharp historical thriller from Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World may receive attention for its replacing of Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer, but it’s a fascinating tale of a famous kidnapping and the greed of a man who placed money above all else.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

FanboyNation
Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Paul Crowder and ‘Boss’ Wooldridge Talk ‘The Blue Angels’ Doc – Interview

Director, Paul Crowder and Flying Ace, Greg “Boss” Woolridge talk about...

Eric Bana Talks ‘Force of Nature: The Dry 2’ – Interview

Eric Bana Returns for the sequel to ‘The Dry‘ in ‘Force...

Letitia Wright’s Talks about her Latest Film ‘Aisha’ – Interview

Letitia Wright’s latest film, ‘Aisha‘, a story about immigration, resilience, friendship...

Event News Event Reviews
Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Takes You to A Whole New World at Segerstrom – Review

Disney’s Aladdin takes the audience on a thrilling chase and a wonderous place...

Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach on The Queen Mary this Halloween

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach for the...

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice’ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the Arts – Review

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice‘ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part something: Hermione and the Mini-gun pt 2

Have a lead salad instead!

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part ?: Hermione and the mini-gun pt 1

It can't fire more than 6,000 per minute!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse: Kurt v Sid – HASTA!

Hasta La Vista Baby!

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus
MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...