After the kidnapping of his grandson is followed by a ransom of $17 million, ruthless billionaire businessman, John Paul Getty does what any other doting grandfather would do. Stalls. And risks his grandson’s life in the process.
A lot of press followed this film after Kevin Spacey was dismissed and intense re-shoots were required with Christopher Plummer stepping into the role. Under a tight schedule, Plummer manages to deliver an awards nod performance, teamed with an impressive Michelle Williams, who, despite the strange miscasting in The Greatest Showman, is back to her best as the forlorn mother and daughter-in-law to the frustratingly frugal magnate.
Shot with a back and forth timeline, it lays the foundations for relationships and backstory without being arduous in creating context. It’s established early on that Getty will stop at nothing to save money and will ‘dangle the carrot’ in order to get what he wants, his motto being ‘everyone has a price’. This frustration carries across well as you’ll try to reason that no one can be this ruthless and awful – but they can, over and over again.
The cast put in a great performance and although I’m still not entirely sure why Mark Wahlberg stars or the notability of his character, I enjoyed his one liners and Boston wit against the backdrop of uptight, upstate elite. It was great to watch Broadchurch alumni, Andrew Buchan hold his own in scenes with Michelle Williams, capitalising on the emotional frailty he displayed brilliantly in the ITV drama. Also, can’t fault that accent.
All in all, the way All the Money in the World is shot and the work that Ridley Scott puts in – having to rework most of the film – is a masterclass. Plummer and Williams are the standouts that push the film forward in moments that will shock time and time again.
I’d watch it for a second time just to be amazed all over again that (although dramatised), someone would put funds ahead of family, ironically, no matter the cost. 4 flicks on the scale.
The shock? The ear scene. No more to say.
The let down? Mark Wahlberg’s character really isn’t needed and I’m still not sure what he achieved besides gossiping.
Audience rating? Quiet one. Special mention to the couple who came in late and, although the screen lit up the entire near empty seating area, used a phone torch to illuminate everyone with their presence.