Rome, 1973. Masked men kidnap a teenage boy named John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer). His grandfather, Jean Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), is the richest man in the world, a billionaire oil magnate, but he's notoriously miserly. His favorite grandson's abduction is not reason enough for him to part with any of his fortune. All the Money in the World (2017) follows Gail, (Michelle Williams), Paul's devoted, strong-willed mother, who unlike Getty, has consistently chosen her children over his fortune. Her son's life in the balance with time running out, she attempts to sway Getty even as her son's mob captors become increasingly more determined, volatile and brutal. When Getty sends his enigmatic security man Fletcher Chace (Mark Wahlberg) to look after his interests, he and Gail become unlikely allies in this race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money.
Stories that bestow a moral objectioning of the rich and powerful are ones that we as an audience haven’t grown tired of just yet. Inspired by true events is Ridley Scott’s take on the brutality that follows after J. Paul Getty’s refusal to pay off any ransom to the abductors of his grandson.
Here’s something that meets the passmark for a good watch in crime/thriller entertainment and does a great job of pulling together the dark and uneasy moments. When a film such as this is said to be ‘inspired’ by true events rather than being ‘based’ on, the facts are open to questioning even more than usual. As someone who was born much later than the time of these happenings, I don’t really know how much is told true but it certainly delivers in its own thought-provoking way.
The hot topic of headlines is Christopher Plummer’s performance as J. Paul Getty, saving Scott from a nightmare with the recently banished Kevin Spacey. However, this shouldn’t be the only acknowledgement and praise for Plummer as he brings together a possibly better-suited performance that doesn’t feel too hurried along, even though reshot in such a short window of time.
While it’s only natural these days that the media draw frontpage attention to cast in relation to shocking and recent events, it’s Michelle Williams who carries a great deal here. As Gail Harris, mother of her kidnapped son, Williams takes on the immense struggle of a rescue mission, going through desperate measures without any help from an obvious but refused solution. She is by far the most humanly relatable part of this film and has great chemistry with everybody else on screen.
One person who reviewers have been throwing shade at for this one is Mark Wahlberg, stating him to be miscast and out of place as a well-informed advisor in the help of pursuing Gail’s son. Sure it’s a little different from his usual but to me it’s nothing to kick up a huge fuss about.
Charlie Plummer (not related to Christopher) is the kidnapped John Paul Getty. He’s an outstanding fit for the mental isolation and physical torment of someone so young, helpless and afraid.
Scott’s directorial touch is very admirable, especially with the initiative to reshoot scenes with Christopher Plummer in the film’s best interest. Sure this one isn’t his absolute best, especially compared to the recent success of The Martian, but it sits well above the halfway mark in miles far from being his worst.
Backed with superb performances by Williams and Plummer, the winding down of 2017 has given us a suspenseful crime story with award winning potential.
Releases: 4th January 2017
Duration: 125 minutes
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Spacey, Michelle Williams
Director: Ridley Scott (Alien Covenant, Kingdom of Heaven)
On November 8th, 2017, Sony and the film's production team unanimously opted to replace Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty with Christopher Plummer. The decision was made just over a month prior to the December 22nd wide release. This was the second time Scott was faced with drastic re-shoots during his career. He had previously almost had to abandon Gladiator (2000) due to the untimely death of Oliver Reed.
The reshoots needed to replace Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer took eight days to film at a cost of $10 million. It also involved Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams having to return to the Rome set during the Thanksgiving holiday of 2017.
When the project was in development Angelina Jolie was offered the lead female role of Gail Harris, the mother of John Paul Getty III, but declined. When the project was officially announced, Natalie Portman had been offered the Gail Harris role. However, she had to decline as she was expecting her second baby. Michelle Williams was finally cast.
In replacing Kevin Spacey, Christopher Plummer portrays the grandfather of a character played by Charlie Plummer; the two are, however, not related.
Christopher Plummer claimed he was prepared to replace Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty on short notice because he had previously been considered for the role and had read the script. He had less than two weeks to memorize his lines.
The film was originally going to have its premiere at the AFI Fest, but Sony withdrew the film following a series of sexual assault allegations made against Kevin Spacey.
Originally, Jack Nicholson was offered the role of Jean Paul Getty. but he declined the offer. Kevin Spacey eventually signed on for the role, but was then replaced by Christopher Plummer.
Alongside Alien: Covenant (2017), this film marks the second time Ridley Scott has directed two films released in a single year. The first time was in 2001, when Scott films Hannibal (2001) and Black Hawk Down (2001) were released.