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|All the Money in the World
dir Ridley Scott
scr David Scarpa
prd Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Quentin Curtis, Chris Clark, Ridley Scott, Mark Huffam, Kevin J. Walsh
with Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Plummer, Romain Duris, Andrew Buchan, Timothy Hutton, Marco Leonardi, Giuseppe Bonifati, Andrea Piedimonte, Stacy Martin, Charlie Shotwell
release US 25.Dec.17, UK 5.Jan.18
17/UK TriStar 2h12
Media attention: Williams and Wahlberg
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
In this riveting, twisty thriller, the last-minute recasting of Christopher Plummer pays off handsomely, as he delivers a vividly complex performance as the cruelly tight-fisted J Paul Getty. More importantly, this is a fantastic story that would be difficult to believe if it weren't true. And it's expertly crafted by Ridley Scott.
In 1973 Rome, the 16-year-old Paul (Charlie Plummer) is abducted, and his kidnappers demand a $17 million ransom from his grandfather J Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), the richest man in the world. But he refuses to pay, instead sending his ex-CIA security man Fletcher (Wahlberg) to find out what happened. Paul's mother Gail (Williams) has no money of her own, and becomes increasingly desperate as weeks turn into months. Meanwhile, Paul's situation gets increasingly precarious, although he gets some sympathy from one of his captors (Duris).
Early on, Scarpa's astute screenplay spirals back to fill in the family history, which is almost as knotted as the kidnapping story. The senior Getty is notoriously greedy, protecting his fortune in a vast collection of fine art, while Paul's father (Buchan) is living a drug-fuelled hippie lifestyle. Gail has turned her back on the money, clinging to her children. And this situation pushes and pulls their strained bonds to the breaking point. The script is snappy, building big emotions and proper suspense along the way.
And the acting is excellent. Plummer shines as the nasty patriarch who admits to loving things more than people. But despite his vile behaviour, the actor never lets him turn into a full-on villain, tapping into the insecurity beneath the surface. As the kidnapped teen, the younger (unrelated) Plummer is excellent, especially in some earthy moments with Duris. A pungent Williams walks a fine line between vulnerability and steeliness, while Wahlberg is solid in a role that mainly requires him to strut his stuff.
As the title suggests, this is about how money can't help but corrupt those who turn to it for security or power. The dialog is packed with telling exchanges, often throwaway lines that offer striking insight into the layered themes. And all of this emerges through a seriously remarkable story that plays out like an epic thriller. The film sometimes feels overlong, but each turn of the plot is gasp-inducing. And in the end, what it says about being financially responsible is both timely and urgent.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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