Amidst the furor of the sexual harassment scandal shaking Hollywood, the latest Ridley Scott feature has hit theatres as a prime example of how this turn in culture has shaken the status quo.
Now starring Christopher Plummer as billionaire and oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, “All The Money in the World” charts the saga surrounding the kidnapping, ransoming, and eventual release of John Paul Getty III in Italy. Faced with the demands of the kidnappers, Getty chooses to hold tight to his vast fortune, and forces Abigail Getty, played by Michelle Williams, his ex-daughter-in-law to fight tooth and nail for every inch with her son’s notoriously tight-fisted grandfather alongside an unexpected ally in Mark Wahlberg’s Fletcher Chase, Getty’s chief of security and primary negotiator.
The film is colored in such a way to invoke the cold, removed emotions that the eldest Getty displays throughout the film. The dark coloring paired with the lengthy runtime does create some drag in the pacing as negotiations wear on between Gail and Getty. However, this does serve to highlight the strength of the actors on the screen.
Christopher Plummer compliments Michelle Williams in such a way that it is almost hard to believe Kevin Spacey would have worked out in the role. Williams displays enormous steel in her scenes with Plummer, but we get to see the true toll of the events on her character in scenes like when Gail fails to raise money through the sale of what she thought was an ancient antiquity. Williams fluctuates between laughter and tears in the moment her last options are exhausted in saving her son and she continues to be at the mercy of Getty, kidnappers, and the media. Alongside her in most scenes is Mark Wahlberg, a presence normally felt throughout his scenes, but who chooses here an almost relaxed and quiet presence as negotiator-in-chief Chase. An honorary mention must go out to Romain Duris, the French actor who plays Cinquanta, Getty III kidnapper and eventual sympathizer.
Had “All the Money in the World” kept Spacey on as Plummer, I don’t believe we would be having the conversations around the film that are currently taking place in regards to awards season. The unbelievably bad prosthetics we saw in the trailer, as well as the Underwood-redux we would have seen portrayed on screen, would have caused this film to be written off as quickly as it appeared in the theatres. By bringing Plummer in as a “safe” replacement, the film has been elevated past its scandal and into a true conversation on the merits of the movie and crew.
Outside of the up-close viewing of the kidnappers removing body parts from the captive Getty, this film doesn’t have any moments that might make viewers uncomfortable. So, if you’re looking for some solid dramatic viewing over the Christmas holiday, check out “All the Money in the World,” in theatres Christmas Day.