ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (director: Ridley Scott; screenwriters: based on a book by John Pearson entitled Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty/David Scarpa; cinematographer: Dariusz Wolski; editor: Claire Simpson; music: Daniel Pemberton; cast: Charlie Plummer (John Paul Getty III), Christopher Plummer (J. Paul Getty), Mark Wahlberg (Fletcher Chase), Michelle Williams (Gail Harris), Timothy Hutton (Oswald Hinge), Romaine Duris (Cinquanta), Andrew Buchan (John Paul Getty II), Charlie Shotwell (John Paul Getty III, age 7), Marco Leonardi (Mammoliti), Giuseppe Bonifati (Giovonni Iacovoni), Nicholas Vaporidis (“Chipmunk”); Runtime: 132; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Quentin Curtis, Chris Clark, Ridley Scott, Mark Huffam, Kevin J. Walsh; TriStar Pictures; 2017)
“The cynical thriller is based on a catchy true story, but never overwhelms… .“Reviewed by Dennis SchwartzDavid Scarpa’s fact-based script takes poetical license with the facts by fictionalizing many events. The story is based on the 1995 book, Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty, by John Pearson. The cynical thriller is based on a catchy true story, but never overwhelms as it should if it had a director who could have tried to reach further into the personal nature of the tale. Instead the action film blockbuster filmmaker Ridley Scott (“The Martian”/”Alien”) plays it as just another story that he stylishly directs as a B-film, one that muses philosophically on the power of money and how corrupting it is but only portrays the family drama on a surface level. The 80-year-old, miserly, American oilman billionaire J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), the richest man in the world, in 1973, receives a demand from kidnappers in Rome, of $17 million for the release of his 16-year-old grandson John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer), called Paul, who happens to be his favorite among the 14 other grandchildren. But this seems to not be enough of a reason for him to part with even a tiny fraction of his money. The story gives us an overview of the details over this abduction. It follows the vic’s strong-willed mother (Michelle Williams), who chooses her child’s safety over money. Gail, with time running out, frantically tries to persuade the tycoon to agree to pay to get her son’s release. Getty uses his security man, a former CIA man, the fixer, Fletcher Chace (Mark Wahlberg), to work the case, and he surprisingly sides with Gail to try to save her feisty son– as the cocky operative gets the ransom payment reduced to $3 million. The kid meanwhile has been held for 5 months by the bumbling Italian gangsters, but no movement is made until the kid’s severed ear is sent to Getty. Of note, Gail was left nearly penniless after divorcing the teen’s father, J. Paul Getty II (Andrew Buchan), who is viewed as a useless lush. A month before the film’s release, Kevin Spacey, playing J. Paul Getty, was in a head-line grabbing scandal involving sexual harassment of men, and the 80-year-old Ridley recast the 88-year-old Christopher Plummer in his role. This involved 9 days of filming Plummer replacing the 58-year-Spacey, which cost the studio 10 million dollars. But Plummer was terrific, who might have saved the film from failure as he captures in spades the icy heart of the embittered Getty..
REVIEWED ON 4/1/2019 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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