By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –
All the Money in the World is the true story of John Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), an oil tycoon who once was considered the richest man in the world. One day in Rome in 1973 his grandson John Paul Getty III is kidnapped and held for ransom for 17 million dollars. Getty Sr. is unwilling to pay the ransom for his grandson because he doesn’t want to give the impression he’ll throw all of his money at kidnappers thinking they can get rich quick by kidnapping his grandchildren, and J. P. Getty Sr. is a miserly man. Getty Sr. hires an ex CIA agent Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to negotiate for his grandson. Chase goes to Rome with Getty III’s mother Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) to get her son back.
This film had a lot of buzz around it mainly because of the massive scandal surrounding several Hollywood big men including Kevin Spacey who was original cast to play John Paul Getty. Not only was he cast but the entire movie was filmed and finished when everything came out. So, Ridley Scott decided he wanted to save his film and with only moving the release date back three days gave himself about 6 weeks to reshoot all of Spacey’s scenes with Christopher Plummer, who Scott originally wanted to cast but the studio wanted a bigger star. Well hats off to Ridley, because there isn’t another director out there who would’ve been able to pull this massive feat off and still have a good film. If I wouldn’t have known that all of Sapcey’s scenes were reshot with Plummer I would’ve never noticed. It was a seamless job and Ridley Scott deserves major props and it’s no wonder he received a Golden Globe nomination.
Along with Scott’s deserved nomination, Christopher Plummer and Michelle Williams both carry this film. If it wasn’t for their performances this film would’ve been a major dud. For Plummer it’s astounding that he stepped into the role with little preparation and gives such a great performance. Scott made the right choice when he first selected Plummer and I think the film might’ve suffered had Spacey been left in (regardless of the giant scandals). Plummer looks more like Getty when this event happened, and his behavior and demeanor was spot on to someone who was much older and had amassed a gargantuan fortune.
Michelle Williams is not only the best thing about this film but she’s one of the best actors working in Hollywood today. She has a way of not only stepping into a role but becoming invisible in that role, which is a talent few actors today have. Her performances are reminiscent of Meryl Streep, Marlon Brando, or Daniel-Day Lewis. I doubt this film gets any Oscar nominations which won’t be surprising; it’s nowhere close to the top ten films of the year, but if anyone deserved one it’d be Michelle Williams. Unfortunately, that category is too competitive this year- Plummer would be more likely to get the nomination. However, Michelle deserve a lot of recognition; even though we all know she still is a great actor, she still will never phone it in.
Plummer looks like the better fit, stupid studio interference.
It’s hard to put my finger on it, but this film felt flat. It’s a good film that is crafted well, especially considering the circumstances. However, it doesn’t have the enjoyment and isn’t re-watchable like The Martian. Nor does it have the gravitas of Gladiator, Blade Runner, or Alien. It feels like it’s just here existing. It’s a good film but something is missing to make it a great film, and ultimately makes the film forgettable. There was never a tense moment and a film like this should be shrouded in them. Based on true story films can have that but this one didn’t. It was good but could’ve been better.
Ridley Scott pulled off an impossible task to most filmmakers and reshot several scenes with a new actor and didn’t change the release date, even getting screeners out to the HFP for the Golden Globe nominations. Unfortunately, aside from that amazing task and Plummer and Williams’ great performances All the Money in the World still falls short of being a great Ridley Scott film. This film will fall somewhere in the middle of his films, upper-middle. I’d wait till this one is on HBO or Netflix and see something else this holiday season.
All the Money in the World (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every mention of how Cheap Getty Sr. was.
Do a Shot: for every phone call.
Do a Shot: every time the ransom goes down.
Take a Drink: every time Getty is looking at the Stock ticker.