ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD Defied Odds Post-Spacey

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD defied all odds after the Spacey outing. It had one month to release and magician Ridley Scott decided to reshoot every scene with Spacey in it. Replacing alleged predator was Christopher Plummer in a marvellous turn as J. Paul Getty. The sad part is Scott wanted Plummer for the part before shooting! And one piece of (mild) trivia I have to mention. Christopher Plummer is not related to Charlie Plummer who plays his grandson in this creatively licensed biopic. Expect a few Oscar nods for this one. ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD is releasing this Thursday, Jan 4th, in Australia from the folks at Roadshow Films. It is rated MA15+ and runs for 132mins. 

If you prefer a historical accurate telling of the story, check out the book/s UNCOMMON YOUTH or KIDNAPPED by Charles Fox – I actually think they are the same book under different titles.

Kernel Jack reviews this psychological thriller – enjoy his (as-usual) awesome review……..all the best…….Salty.

 

All the Money in the World Movie | Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty
Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty

 

BY JACK DIGNAN

DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE:

The fact that this movie exists is a bloody miracle. Or at least, the fact that this version of the movie exists is. For those living under a rock these past few months, Hollywood has undergone a much-needed extermination of most of its sexual predators, banishing them from the vibrant green hills of Los Angeles. Amidst this removal, Ridley Scott saw a terrible fate for his upcoming Kevin Spacey-led true crime drama, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD. With Spacey’s harassment accusations coming in full force, the film was destined to be a box office disaster. So instead of facing it and dealing with the loss, he did something about it.

With under a month left until the film was set to be released worldwide, Scott pulled together all of the film’s cast and crew and returned to re-shoot all of Spacey’s scenes, now with Christopher Plummer in the role of J. Paul Getty instead. It was a feat many believed to be impossible, citing Scott as a madman. As it turns out, he is a madman, but he’s a genius madman, and one that deserves all the acclamation he can get simply for pulling such a risky move. In just eight days, Scott and Plummer re-shot all 22 of Spacey’s scenes, and it’s the best decision this film could have ever made.

 

All the Money in the World Movie | Charlie Plummer as J. Paul Getty III
Charlie Plummer as J. Paul Getty III

 

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD SYNOPSIS:

Based on a shocking true story, we’re taken back to Rome in 1973. Here, a young boy named John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) roams the streets. He’s the grandchild of the richest man in the history of the world, J. Paul Getty, and his fame and success is known throughout the globe. Unfortunately for him, that leads to his kidnapping. The kidnappers attempt to contact John’s mother Gail (Michelle Williams), demanding millions of dollars in exchange for the safe return of her son. The problem is, Gail has long since lost any connections with the Getty’s, having married into the family and then getting a divorce. Essentially, she has no money. So, she teams up with a man named Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) and begins a quest to either find her son or convince the reluctant J. Paul Getty to pay the ransom.  

 

All the Money in the World Movie | Michelle Williams as Gail Harris
Michelle Williams as Gail Harris

 

PLUMMER’S SHOW-STEALING PERFORMANCE:

I want this film to be a success. It’s not the best film ever made, and I’ll get into why soon, but just out of respect for the craftsmanship and Scott’s unbridled dedication to what he believed in, this film needs to win back big time. It deserves it. They pulled off the impossible and they pulled it off to an almost seamless degree. For eagle-eyed viewers, Spacey still manages to sneak into a few wide shots here and there, and there’s a strange CGI-composited shot with Plummer over the top, but for the most part, the transition of actors works without flaw, and made this a better film than it ever would’ve been before.

Plummer is the film’s standout star, and not just because of how fast the turnaround period was. His performance here is off the charts good. It’s so restraint and calm, yet full of vicious intensity and greed. J. Paul Getty was not a nice man, yet at the same time, he was. Plummer’s performance is a perfect blend of naughty and nice, creating an understanding behind the man’s reluctance to give over any ransom money, while also stirring uproar and frustration over his self-indulgent attitude and narcissistic ways. A lot of the characters are underdeveloped vessels for the actors to board, especially Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams, but it’s Plummer’s Getty who’s complicated and fascinating.

 

All the Money in the World Movie | Charlie Plummer as J. Paul Getty III
Charlie Plummer as J. Paul Getty III

 

YOU’VE SEEN IT BEFORE:

Scott’s direction is all class, creating an effectively drab depiction of 1973 that’s brilliant in all technical aspects. The set designing, costuming, visual aesthetic and overarching feel of the period is executed flawlessly. You’re drawn into this world and locked inside, where everything is stunning and alive, never cheap or obviously a soundstage. You buy into all of it. But no matter how good it may look and feel, it’s hard to save ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD’s lackluster narrative and generic storytelling.

This being a true story elevates my interest in it, aided by a fascinating look at greed and the obsession the world has with money, making it a step above most run of the mill kidnapping dramas, but a lot of it just failed to entertain. You’ve seen a lot of this before. Sure, it actually went down like this, and a lot of it does fascinate and thrill, but most of it will have you checking your watch, hoping for the 132-minute runtime to reach its conclusion. The film starts way too late, spending too much of its first act in set up and flashback, then proceeds to repeat itself over and over. I lost track of the number of scenes where characters wait around for a phone call to start recording audio before answering.

 

All the Money in the World Movie | Michelle Williams as Gail Harris and Mark Wahlberg as Fletcher Chase
All the Money in the World Movie | Michelle Williams as Gail Harris and Mark Wahlberg as Fletcher Chase

 

TRUTH VS. FICTION:

When we do reach the third act, the familiarities go from annoying to numbing. It’s very bad. At that point in the film, where I should be feeling a swirling sensation of emotion, all I felt was boredom and frustration, which was furthered by a post-viewing Google search of how the true story actually went down. A great deal of the finale, which I won’t spoil, is fabricated or manipulated to benefit the film, but it results in a mediocre decision. The true story’s conclusion is far more fascinating than what happens in the film. A fact-based ending would’ve hit the film’s messages home far more effectively than how they choose to end it on screen.

IN CONCLUSION:

The narrative shortcomings are hard to forgive, but Ridley Scott and co. manage to deliver a perfectly fine movie that at least tries to do something new and interesting within the kidnapping-drama genre, even if it doesn’t always come to fruition. I’m glad this film underwent the changes it did. I can’t even imagine it being nearly as great with any other actor in any of these roles. One could argue that this is Plummer’s film through and through, but in my eyes, it’s Scott’s all the way.

 

 

 

YOUR CRITIC:

When he’s not spending an embarrassing amount of hours browsing through Netflix, Jack Dignan dedicates his time to reviewing movies of all genres and languages. He has done so since 2012. He also maintains a website of his own – www.directorscutmovies.com – and ever since their interview, he’s been best friends with Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino just doesn’t know it yet. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.