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  • Writer's pictureHunter Friesen

"All the Money in the World" Review

Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World has had a troubled production. The biggest problem came from Kevin Spacey, whose sexual assault allegations forced him to be recast and reshoots to commence in record time. Another problem arose when it was revealed that during the reshoots, the two leads, Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams, were paid vastly different sums, which prompted a reaction from the #MeToo movement. Fortunately for Scott, the finished product was not tarnished by the problems and ended up coming out in good quality.

The film retells the true story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer), grandson of legendary oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer). John is a typical teenager who just wants to spend his days drinking and having fun, which eventually gets him into trouble while he’s on vacation in Italy. He’s kidnapped by low-level thugs who demand a ransom of $17 million be paid for his safe return. From his luxurious English mansion, Jean refuses to pay the ransom, citing that if he paid a ransom for one grandchild, then all of his grandchildren would be kidnapped. While that claim sounds reasonable, it’s well known that grandpa was extremely frugal and unwilling to even pay half price for anything. Caught in the middle of this situation is John’s mother, Gail Harris (Michelle Williams). She’s an outsider in the family, mostly because she’s not a real Getty. A war begins to brew between her and Jean as they fight over how to best handle the situation.

Marketed as an almost action thriller, the film really isn’t as exciting as you want it to be. Some events are overly dramatized to try and build up more excitement. It’s as if the screenwriter researched the story, found out that it wasn’t that exciting, and decided that there needed to be more action in order to have mainstream appeal.

The film also falls into a trap of repeating itself about midway through. A never-ending cycle of debating between the adults and John’s situation changing becomes tiresome quickly, resulting in a surprisingly simple story that feels less than its potential.

What the film lacks in action it makes up for in thrills and suspense. Scott lets the story flow freely between locations and properly handles the parallel stories of John and the adults.

The performances of the film are the highlights as each raise the story past its flaws. The standout performance comes from the man with the least amount of screen time and had the least amount of preparation (about three weeks). Christopher Plummer is award-worthy as Jean Getty, giving his character the right amount of believability and ferocity. Every one of the best scenes involves him, which is not a coincidence considering how talented Plummer is with his limited time.

Both Michelle Williams and Charlie Plummer do well in their roles as mother and son. They ’re convincing pair that is smart and resourceful. They both try to fight and make the best of their dire situations that are being worsened by an Ebenezer Scrooge type.

Lastly, Mark Wahlberg plays a supporting role as Fletcher Chase, an associate for Jean Getty. He’s assigned to negotiate a deal with the kidnappers, but only at Getty’s approved price that is far too low. Wahlberg doesn’t add much to the overall story and only seems to be there to add star power. He’s not bad but just doesn’t seem to be worth our time.

Throughout all its production and publicity problems, All the Money in the World is a testament to the power of the mega-talented cast and crew. Whether it be the octogenarian pair of Scott and Plummer or the younger core of Williams and Charlie, everyone here steps up their game to deliver a satisfying thriller that is able to move past some of its problems.


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