“All the Money in the World” takes a tense look at wealth and power through the eyes of a mother trying to save her son.
The movie made headlines in recent months when it was announced that director Ridley Scott was reshooting the film with Christopher Plummer in the role of J. Paul Getty to avoid scandals associated with Kevin Spacey, who was originally filmed in the role. The move paid off as Plummer excels in playing the Scrooge-esque Getty and the reshooting isn’t noticeable.
But the movie isn’t even about the richest man in the world; it’s about his grandson.
When John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) is kidnapped and held for ransom, rich granddaddy isn’t going to shell out $17 million dollars to save him. So, it’s up to his mother, Gail Harris (Michelle Williams), with the help of former CIA agent Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg), to get him back.
The film does not focus on what Jean Paul Getty won’t do to save his grandson but centers on Gail, who will do anything to save him.
“All the Money in the World” manages to tell an engaging story through months of rescue efforts. It also provides some background about the Getty family, giving the audience some knowledge about their family situation. As the story progresses, it moves seamlessly between Jean Paul Getty basking in his wealth, the kidnapped Getty, and the suffering Gail trying to find the money for the ransom.
The premise doesn’t sound that thrilling but the film is far from boring. The acting and characters provide plenty of captivating content.
Williams is truly a standout in her performance. She balances being vulnerable, shedding tears for her missing son, with being stone-faced when dealing with the uncompassionate Mr. Getty.
Former agent Chase is perhaps the most interesting character as his motives are often unclear. He wants to bring the boy back to his mother but he’s been hired by Mr. Getty, which means he has to do things his way. As the film progresses, he begins to see two sides of the family and starts leaning one way, rather than staying in the middle.
Charlie Plummer as the kidnapped Getty shows his character’s fear through his wide-eyed facial expressions, shaky body movement and voice. The film portrays him not as a spoiled rich kid, but a regular teen thrust into a rich man’s game.
“All the Money in the World” tells audiences a cinematic version of real life events from the past which also shed light on the present. The film demonstrates how money can damage lives and families, and that there are things all the money in the world cannot buy.