Rome, 1973. Masked men kidnap a teenage boy named John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer). His grandfather, Jean Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), is the richest human in the world, a billionaire oil magnate, but he's notoriously miserly. His favorite grandson's abduction is not reason enough for him to part with any of his fortune. All the Money in the World (2017) follows Gail, (Michelle Williams), Paul's devoted, strong-willed mother, who unlike Getty, has consistently chosen her children over his fortune. Her son's life in the balance with time running out, she attempts to sway Getty even as her son's mob captors become increasingly more determined, volatile and brutal. When Getty sends his enigmatic security man Fletcher Chace (Mark Wahlberg) to look after his interests, he and Gail become unlikely allies in this race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money..Written by
Fairly bland - with the exception of Christopher Plummer
By now, almost everyone knows about the last minute switch of Christopher Plummer in place of current-pariah Kevin Spacey as pivotal Billionaire J. Paul Getty in Ridley Scott's ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, so when I checked out Plummer's Oscar nominated turn, I couldn't but help see if I could tell when Scott put in a new scene and where he just "augmented" his scenes with Plummer. And then, a funny thing happened...
I stopped looking at this for I was captivated by Plummer's performance.
A 3 time Oscar nominee (he is the oldest person to win an Academy Award - at the age of 82 - for his Supporting Role in BEGINNERS in 2010), the 88 year old Plummer shows that he can still command a movie for anytime he is on screen this film crackles and becomes interesting.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rest of the film.
Telling the story of the kidnapping of Getty's grandson, and the "richest man in the world's" refusal to pay the ransom, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD stars Charlie Plummer (no relation) as John Paul Getty III (the kidnapped grandson), Mark Wahlberg as "fixer" Fletcher Chase, who was told by Getty to get his grandson back for "the lowest possible cost", Romain Duris as one of the kidnappers and the great Michelle Williams as the mother of the kidnapped boy - and the daughter-in-law of Getty, Gail Harris. Each one of these performances are good, but not great. Doing what needs to be done in what they are given to do but nothing more.
I think the problem with this film is one of focus. It spends about 50% of the time with William's character - and this is fine, but then it jumps to the kidnapped son, to "the fixer", to "the kidnapper", to the grandson and back to the mother, so no real through-line, continuity or strong character development can occur, with the exception of Christopher Plummer's J. Paul Getty. To be fair to Williams, C. Plummer has the showier role and she is just asked to be the center of this tale, the world in which all else revolves and that, ultimately, makes her character somewhat bland.
I place the blame for this on Screenwriter David Scarpa (based on the book by John Pearson) and Director Scott. I think their reach exceeded their grasp on this one. If they could have focused more on one of the characters - instead of spreading things out - perhaps this film would have become more interesting and less bland. It stays on one note - despite jumping to different people in vastly different situations - throughout it's 2 hour and 15 minute time frame.
All in all, a missed opportunity. It is a decent film that had the potential to be VERY good. The only one who was VERY good was Christopher Plummer - and certainly his performance is worth the price of admission.
Letter Grade: B
7 (out of 10) stars and you can take that to the Bank (OfMarquis)
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