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All the Money in the World
+ Digital HD with Ultraviolet
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(Apr 10, 2018)
+ Digital HD with Ultraviolet
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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 Sr.’s advisor (Mark Wahlberg) become unlikely allies in the race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money. Inspired by historical events. Certain scenes, characters and dialogue have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes.
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John Paul Getty III is transformed from a self-destructive drug addict into an angelic man-child who is just too good for our rotten world. His mother is transformed into the most virtuous mother who has ever lived. Every grown man in the film is evil to one degree or another.
The plot is that angelic John Paul Getty III gets kidnapped in Rome by a criminal gang. Mother Duck is outraged and stamps her feet around demanding that someone solve the problem. Christopher Plummer plays J. Paul Getty as an mustache twirling arch villain out of a Victorian melodrama complete with him watching a paper tape stock ticker. The part is written in monologues which always seem designed to stress how evil he is. Mother Duck's (Gail Harris) part is written as a sequence of virtue moments which are designed to show that she alone is a good person. Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) plays a mostly useless bumbling secret agent type.
Plummer was a last-minute substitution into the film. As one would expect, he had no problem at all with the part. But part of the reason that was possible was that his character doesn't really interact with others. He mostly just speaks *at* them. But all in all, I think he was a far better choice than the original actor.
The film is full of melodrama. Both from the mother (Gail) endlessly complaining and scenes of young Getty imprisoned by the kidnappers. The ransom is eventually paid. Getty is freed. Evil J. Paul Getty immediately dies (even though in reality he died several years after) and Mother Duck is given sole control of the entire Getty estate (and Trust) which she uses (apparently) to do all the good associated with the Trust since J. Paul Getty's death.
As far as history, the film is an atrocity. None of the characters are really honest to the people that they are based on. John Paul Getty III is turned into a angelic victim when he was in reality anything but. The film doesn't explain that "John Paul Getty Jr." gave himself that name (he was born "Eugene" Getty). Nor does it explain that he was the child of Getty's fourth wife. There is no real attempt in the film to show the actual out of control lifestyle of J. Paul Getty or his complexities. Gail Harris didn't inherit the Getty wealth or have sole control of the trust as the film implied. The most important character written out of the film being John Paul Getty Jr.'s brother (the composer Gordon Getty) who assumed control of his fathers business interests and trust after 1976. Worst of all, the film moves the death of J. Paul Getty years forward as if it happened at the time of the kidnapping. J. Paul Getty was an awful person but often not in the ways often shown in the film.
The problem with dramatizing the Getty kidnapping is that in the real story, there are no likable characters and nobody to sympathize with. These were also not people made "bad" by money. They were all hedonists by nature.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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