All the Money in the World (2018)

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Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer & Mark Wahlberg

Review Author: Shaun

I’m willing to bet that this film would have flown under people’s radar had it not been for Christopher Plummer replacing Kevin Spacey. Reports suggest that the re-shoot took 8 days to shoot and cost the film $10 million. After seeing All the Money in the World for myself, I can safely say that it was $10 million worth spent.

All the Money in the world is a very cleverly written, somber, thriller that creates its suspense through the silent treatment. Although you can expect one or two gruesome scenes, some people may make the mistake of seeing the word “thriller” and instantly think of tense action and drama. While All the Money in the World delivers on the drama, don’t expect a lot of action. The script is very dialogue heavy and relies on pivotal exposition and verbal sparring for the story to progress.

Christopher Plummer plays the role of J. Paul Getty, and to his credit, he has done a remarkable job of bringing this larger than life character to life. Being the richest man in the world, there is a lot to explore with that contributing factor in mind. Writer David Scarpa has done a fantastic job of showing a character who must cope with being the man everyone turns to for money, and because of his skill as a masterful negotiator, always has to come out on top. Even if it means destroying his relationship with his family.

There is no denying that Christopher Plummer is the biggest talking point of the film, but what about the rest of the talent? The kidnapped John Paul Getty III, often called Paulo, played by Charlie Plummer, is the subject of the films most intriguing scenes as he sees the development of an awkward, reverse Stockholm Syndrome bond with his kidnapper Cinquanta (Romain Duris). These scenes are remarkable as they work in getting to know Cinquanta has the most heart of all the kidnappers but also sets the ball rolling for the more suspenseful scenes of the film.

Michelle Williams as Gail Harris, the mother of Paolo, is fantastic. Through her incredible performance, she shows the struggle that this character is feeling. It’s translated to the audience with ease as her character must live under the illusion that she can easily pay off the ransom. Mark Wahlberg stars as ex-spy, Fletcher Chase, who gets to see first hand the true colours of the Getty family. Mark’s performance is again very good proving that he doesn’t just have to star as a hardened patriot. Amusingly, you can notice his body mass changing from different scenes due to the reshoots.

Although a story that is stranger than fiction, many scenes are vastly drawn out and have little payoff. It feels like Ridley wanted to cram in as much of the interesting details as possible but did not have the runtime to expand on them. It creates a sense of aimlessness and derives from a solid premise. A more linear approach would have elevated the material.

Overall, All the Money in the World is a solid thriller with great dialogue and an incredible performance by Christopher Plummer given the circumstances. The Golden Globe nominations this film has receives are well deserved but to say that this film is an Academy Award hopeful is stretching it a bit. There are many elements holding this film back, from the lack of payoff and an inconsistent tone which hinders its chances of snagging the coveted award. It is the characters and their performances that mold this film together, without their clear commitment to this project it would have the possibility of falling apart, but Ridley Scott has managed to pull it off.

Rating: 3.25 / 5 kidnapped grandchildren

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