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All The Money In The World
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ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother Gail (Michelle Williams) to convince his billionaire grandfather (Christopher Plummer) 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 (Mark Wahlberg) become unlikely allies in the race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money.
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The film is based on the factual kidnapping in 1973 of Getty’s 16-year old grandson, Paul (Charlie Plummer, no relation). The senior Getty was living in London at the time and his alcoholic son JP II (Andrew Buchan) was divorced from Gail (Michelle Williams) who had custody of the children. We get a brief flashback to an earlier time when II and Gail were living in the U. S. and II was having a hard time getting a job. Estranged from his father, he finally writes and asks him for a job. Senior Getty wants II and his family to meet him in Rome. He says he has a job waiting.
Philandering, alcohol and drugs precludes the divorce. Gail agrees to no alimony or settlement, just child support. Back to the present, young Paul is kidnapped off the streets of Rome and whisked to the countryside where the kidnappers demand $17 million from Gail who they assume has the money or can get it from her former father-in-law. Well, Gail is broke and grandpa, who is the richest man in the world and probably the richest man in the history of the world refuses to pay anything. Instead he uses his head of security, Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to track down the kidnappers and keep Gail under wraps. But Gail is no shrinking violet and confronts the old man as best she can.
I kept my eyes peeled for signs of disconnect from the movie and the new scenes involving Plummer. I could only see one possible case. When Gail, II and the kiddies (3 or 4) first meet grandpa, they mysteriously disappear with only Gail, II and Paul in the scene. Otherwise, it was a seamless edit. The film certainly has the capitalistic theme of the pompous old man who would pay a million dollars for an artifact but nothing for ransom for his flesh and blood. But the film really is a procedural thriller.
The police, Gail and Chase do their best to track down the kidnapped boy. The scenes with Paul and the lead kidnapper are very good. Cinquanta (Romain Duris) keeps the boy as safe as he can, but eventually decides to “sell” the boy to other bad guys as the negotiations drag on for months. Both Duris and young Plummer are terrific. I would expect Christopher Plummer and perhaps Michelle Williams to get some attention with Oscar nominations coming up. The film is tightly shot, perfectly performed and highly entertaining. Highly recommended.
Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from director Ridley Scott, now a crisp 80 years young if you can believe it. Here he recounts the events surrounding the kidnapping of J. Paul Getty's grandson.. I hope for your enjoyment's sake that, as was the case for me, you don't know how this ends up, I don't want to say much more than that, other than to hold on to your chairs... You have have heard that, resulting from the sexual assault allegations, the movie makers decided to reshoot his scenes... after the movie had been completed and with less than 5 weeks to go before its release. Scott apparently relished the challenge, and Christopher Plummer was recast at J Paul Getty. Not only did the film makers pull it off, but I have to say that Plummer is so outstanding in this role, that I cannot imagine Spacey for this role. Plummer casts a long shadow (in the best possible way) over this movie, almost at the expense of Michelle Williams (as Paul's mother). Mark Wahlberg plays Chase, a former CIA operative and designated by Getty as the negotiator to try and get Paul released. Bottom line: this is a great real life crime drama that also looks at the isolating effect of being so rich that you never know whether anyone around you is sincere or simply in it for the money.
"All The Money In the World" opened wide on Christmas Day. While I wanted to see it, it was actually my grown-up kids who choose this for our annual Christmas Day movie. The early evening screening where we saw this at here in Cincinnati was completely sold out down to the last seat, Given the positive buzz and word-of-mouth this movie will likely create, this movie may have surprisingly long legs at the box office, even more so if high profile award nominations continue to come in (it already did quite well with 4 Golden Globe nominations). In any event, I encourage you to check out "All the Money in the World", be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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It seemed too good to be true.
Despite having “all the money in the world”, JP Getty (Kevin Spacey/Christopher Plummer) refuses to pay a ransom when his grandson is kidnapped.Read more