All the Money in the World - 2018
Director(s): Ridley Scott
Writer(s): David Scarpa (screenplay) and John Pearson (book)
Cinematography by: Dariusz Wolski
Editor(s): Claire Simpson
Cast: Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Timothy Hutton and Charlie Plummer
Synopsis: The story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother to convince his billionaire grandfather Jean Paul Getty to pay the ransom.
This is one of the most talked about movies that came out on limited release in 2017. Limited release was so it would qualify for the Award season of this year and it worked since it has received multiple nominations as of me writing this review, but that’s not the reason it’s the most talked about. It’s because of Kevin Spacey. He was originally slated to star as the titular Jean Paul Getty and had shot all his scenes when the news of his past indiscretions hit. Scott acted quickly and replaced Spacey with his original choice, Christopher Plummer, reshooting all the scenes and releasing it just in time for the award season. The story itself was compelling enough for me to want to see the movie, but the reshoots and the controversy is what actually made me buy a ticket to the movie.
I’m beyond impressed by Ridley Scott, both on how quickly and how ethically he handled the controversy of Spacey. He didn’t let one actor put in danger a project multiple people in front and behind the camera had worked so hard on. Scott and editor Claire Simpson turned this movie around so quickly that I expected the quality to suffer and I’m pleasantly surprised to see I was wrong. The flow and tone felt cohesive even with the clunky set up in the beginning.
The story is interesting and has enough ups and downs that you are connected all the way through. David Scarpa adapted Pearson’s book beautifully as each conversation and monologue felt drenched with subtext and tension. Even when the subject wasn’t about money and power it somehow was easily connected back to their fixation of money and power. Getty’s blasé attitude towards the fact that his favorite grandson - his words - had been kidnapped was balanced by the pure desperation of his ex-daughter-in-law played by Michelle Williams. Their conflict is the driving force behind this story and is elevated thanks to the great performances by both actors.
Christopher Plummer as Jean Paul Getty was great and perfectly cast, even if he was the replacement. I’m happy he got the role since I have never understood why cast a younger actor and plaster them with make-up to play an older character when Hollywood is riddled with talented actors of that age range. But the one that stole this movie was Michelle Williams as Gail Harris, the mother of the kidnapped Getty. Everything from her body language, accent and desperation separated her from Williams the actor, making me completely buy her as a person. She is fully fleshed out and I connected with her and her struggle in finding the means to bring back her son.
All the Money in the World is a kidnapping wrapped in a character study. Despite the controversy being one of the main drivers for my interest, the acting and the story is what made me stay in my sit. Plummer and Williams deliver the goods and elevate an already compelling story. Ridley Scott handled an impossible situation both ethically and professionally and I hope this movie finds its audience. Michelle Williams is why I love movies.
All the Money in the World is currently playing in theaters. It’s worth the money, go see it.
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