Will the film overcome some early controversy and deliver a compelling finished product?
Synopsis: ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother Gail to convince his billionaire grandfather to pay the ransom. When Getty Sr. refuses, Gail attempts to sway him as her son’s captors become increasingly volatile and brutal. With her son’s life in the balance, Gail and Getty’s advisor become unlikely allies in the race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money. (Sony Pictures)
Starring: Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, and Mark Wahlberg
Writer: David Scarpa
Director: Ridley Scott
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 132mins
For showtimes and more, check out All The Money In The World on movietimes.com.
For those of you wondering after all the controversy involving Kevin Spacey and the reshoots with Christopher Plummer, the reshot scenes do kind of stick out from the rest of the film but it becomes less noticeable as the film went on. Spacey was originally set to play J. Paul Getty, one of the richest men in the world but was replaced by Plummer within weeks before the film’s original release date (it was only delayed by a few days so it wasn’t that bad).
In the film, Getty’s grandson John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) is kidnapped and for whom his concerned mother Gail (Williams) pleaded him to pay the ransom but that would prove to be easier said than done with the eldest Getty being more concerned about his own wealth than anything else. What was engaging about the story was to see the different sides of this issue being played out on screen. Gail simply wanted to do what was right for her and her family while Getty was hesitant to part with his hard-earned riches.
Despite being sometimes uncomfortable to watch, the longer the story goes on, the more that both Gail and Getty are right and you begin to sympathize with both of them. The best part of the film by far was watching Gail take on this seemingly insurmountable hierarchy of money and power, driven by her devotion for her son. Gail stood her ground and did not let herself be controlled by all the powerful men in her life, including her drug addict husband. It was also very easy to take on her sheer frustration with the various challenges she had to face. There could have been more stakes in regards to the kidnapping but Gail’s struggle stemming from this that led to some strong moments on her part.
This frustration became more apparent when Gail was paired with Getty’s security specialist and former CIA agent Fletcher Chase (Wahlberg) who seemed to be there more to help Getty than Gail. His only purpose initially was to solve the situation as cheaply as possible, however, he was merely another man standing in her way. He served little purpose to the story other than be a connection between Gail and Getty. The writing definitely let him down as a character, making him come off as uninteresting and one-dimensional.
Now to the actual kidnapping subplot, we get that the younger Getty was an easy target being who he was but it was definitely not as compelling as the rest of the film because it felt like an afterthought after watching Gail and Getty go at it. It wasn’t quite the younger Getty’s fault that he just wasn’t that interesting of a character compared to the others. More so, the amount of focus on him while being a pawn in this whole ordeal mostly hurts the other scenes as a result.
The acting was great for the most part with Williams and Plummer being the standouts. Williams was superb as the heart and soul of the film as we felt both her highs and lows, depicting her character’s frustration. Plummer was great as the cold Getty, adding some humanity to what would be considered a heartless character on paper. Kudos to him because you wouldn’t know that he came onto the film weeks before its initial release date. The film was at its best whenever Williams and/or Plummer was on screen. Wahlberg was okay as perhaps his star power made up for the shallowness of his character.
Overall, this is a well-acted, engaging, albeit conventional, thriller that drags at times and is at its best whenever Williams and/or Plummer are on screen. The film definitely overcome some early controversy effortlessly.