Director Ridley Scott’s second film in the calendar year of 2017—that in itself being quite an accomplishment for a film director who is now in his eighties—was being groomed as an early Oscar contender in early fall. The film is a dramatization of the kidnapping of legendary billionaire J. Paul Getty’s grandson in 1973 and the early praise was being directed at actor Kevin Spacey’s performance in the role of the elder tycoon. Shortly thereafter came the allegations of the actor’s sexual misconduct, which sent things spinning in an entirely new direction for the film’s director. The curiosity swirled as to what would become of the film. Scott hastily recast the role with actor Christopher Plummer in the part and shot all of the scenes in a nine-day marathon session, announcing that the film would still make its release date.
And now the question remains as to what effect Plummer’s participation has had on the film. The short answer is that he’s one of the best things to be found in the film and, had he not won an Oscar just a few years back for his role in the film Beginners, he would most assuredly be a front runner this time around. In fact, he’s so good it leaves one wondering why he wasn’t cast in the role in the first place instead of Spacey. The unrealistic old age makeup applied to Spacey, seen in the early trailers for the film, certainly made me scratch my head in bewilderment. Plummer, in my estimation was certainly the wiser choice.
Now that I’ve gotten that business out of the way it’s time to move on to the film itself. It works well enough and tells a fairly compelling story as it relates the attempts of the elder Getty’s daughter in law, Gayle’s (Michelle Williams, also turning in some good work) attempts to scrape together the funds to pay off the ransom note. The old man will have none of it, reasoning that if he pays off one kidnapper then more are surely to come out of the woodwork. Instead he opts to let his adviser, Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg, woefully miscast here and one of the film’s weak links) play the role of negotiator and do the dirty work before time runs out. Of course, it’s a foregone conclusion that Gayle and Fletcher will eventually join forces and come up with a plan to rescue Gayle’s son.
The biggest quibble to be found with the film is in its playing loose with the facts. There are multiple scenes that, when readily researched, appear to be nothing more than the concoction of the screenwriter’s imagination. Even worse are annoying anachronisms such as the inclusion of the 1969 pop hit Time of the Season, which pops up in a scene set in 1964. If Scott and his team hadn’t been so sloppy with factual errors then All the Money in the World would be a slam-dunk. It’s a compelling film as long as you remember it’s just a film bearing just a passing resemblance to the actual story.
This movie is playing in Hickory and around the area.
Christopher Plummer in ‘Money’
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