All The Money In The World movie review: Ridley Scott deserves special mention for delivering this film against all odds

Mihir Fadnavis

Jan,05 2018 12:09 23 IST

3.5/5

At age 80 Ridley Scott has more physical and mental energy than a 20-year-old. After facing backlash for Alien Covenant, which was universally regarded as one of his worst films, he went on to finish another film just a few months later, dealt with recasting Kevin Spacey’s role and re edited the film.

All The Money In The World in its final form is so seamless you’d never have known about the behind the scenes drama if you weren’t informed of them earlier. As a bonus it also packs one of the best ever performances from Christopher Plummer as the very rich and legendarily horrible oil magnate Paul Getty.

Taking Up Spacey: J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) and Fletcher (Mark Wahlberg) in All The Money In The World.</em

Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) and Fletcher (Mark Wahlberg) in All the Money In The World

The story chronicles an episode in the infamous Getty family in the early '70s when a teenage JP Getty (Charlie Plummer) is kidnapped for a huge ransom. His mother Gail (Michelle Williams) is divorced from her husband, but has no choice but to beg Getty for the ransom money. Getty, being an awful troglodyte refuses to pay up and the media blames Gail for not being an ideal mother. Behind the scenes Getty enlists the help of a former CIA man (Mark Wahlberg) to find his grandson.

The bulk of the film is the friction caused by the working class Gail dealing with the stereotypically terrible Scrooge like Getty and then with the kidnappers by herself. There is an undercurrent of social commentary prevalent in the film, about how absolute money corrupts absolutely, and although a subtler exercise in achieving this would have been more beneficial, it’s still sickening enough to move you. There is a grotesque display of wealth right from the opening scene where you see JP being taken at the backdrop of fountains and night life full of women – and Scott cleverly entices you, digging into your inner Getty.

The plot thread of the kidnappers is also quite interesting as they see their teenage victim as a golden goose of sorts – irony is the centerpiece of the film when we realize that the bond between JP and his kidnappers is warmer than with his grandfather. The casting of a persistently irritated looking Wahlberg, however, was a big misfire and you wish the scenes between Gail and the CIA man were done away and replaced with more showdowns between Getty and her. It could have made for a more intensive story than the sweeping thriller with some unfocused moments that this ultimately is.

The fact that Scott reshot Spacey’s scenes in a handful of days is just insane because Getty is a hugely significant part of the film.

To be able to recreate the atmosphere, energy and continuity so impeccably is an achievement in itself. Everyone was waiting for this film with their knives out, Scott deserves special credit for delivering a film that just works against all odds.

Danny Boyle has a TV show later this year that chronicles the same story, its going to be an interesting wait to see how he tackles the subject, considering how differently Boyle portrays weak humans compared to Scott.

Published Date: Jan 05, 2018 12:09 PM | Updated Date: Jan 05, 2018 12:09 PM