Coming to theaters for Christmas from director Ridley Scott and TriStar Pictures is a true story of greed and kidnapping when you have “All the Money in the World.”
John Getty II (Andrew Buchan) and wife Gail (Michelle Williams) are raising their children under the shadow of being related to the richest man in the world, J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer). When their finances become difficult, Gail suggests that John write a letter to his father and mend their relationship.
To their surprise, Getty sends a telegram asking them to come to Rome and for John to work with him. The older Getty takes a liking to his grandson Paul and encourages him to be a part of the family business and spend time learning about their history.
As the years pass, John falls hard into drugs and Paul (Charlie Plummer) is brought back home to Gail. The relationship with the elder Getty is back to where it was before, and they all have little contact with him. Paul has a wild side, and he tends to come and go as he pleases and Gail doesn’t know how to deal with it.
One night, as Paul walks the streets of Rome, in an instant he is kidnapped. Gail receives a telephone call informing her that she is to pay a hefty ransom. Reaching out to Getty, she does not get the response of a grandfather concerned about his grandson but instead, the response of a penny-pinching old man.
Getty does one thing, however. He brings in Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to work with Gail to locate who might have Paul. Working with the Italian police, Chase isn’t sure he is getting the whole story about the kidnapping or the family.
Paul deals with the kidnappers, especially Cinquanta (Romain Duris), who believe the ransom will be paid. Phone call after phone call begins to anger them as Gail tries to explain that it is not she who has the money.
This is what happens when greed meets a man with an iron will because one way or another — everyone is going to pay!
Williams as Gail is a mother who knows the dynamics of the family but isn’t about to let her son die. It would be easy to see that she might be considered a tad cold, but I also understand her more than I thought I would. As each phone call comes in and each new threat is given, Williams’ thought process is quite clear.
Wahlberg as Chase is a man who clearly has worked with Getty on other issues, but this one is different. Trying to understand why Getty just plain refuses to participate in what is clearly a serious matter stuns Chase. Wahlberg’s character begins to invest more of himself in what is happening and doesn’t care what his employer thinks. He puts on his usual badass and makes it known that what is right is right — no matter how much money you have.
Duris as Cinquanta is a kidnapper with a weird conscience. Between a rock and a hard place, it is clear he knows the difference between right and wrong. I’m not defending the guy in the slightest, but Duris gives the character his moments.
There are two winners in this film, and both of them have the last name of Plummer. First, Charlie Plummer as Paul is a young man who was going through life with a strange chip on his shoulder. There is a disconnect with his parents that just has him feeling as if nothing can touch his free spirit. He is also smarter than his kidnappers give him credit for. Plummer’s performance is everything I’d expect and still pleasantly surprised.
Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty is absolute and stunning perfection! From the moment he is on screen, Plummer portrays the richest man in the world with such a range of non-emotion emotion. What I mean to say is when he is angry, you know he is although he’s not screaming when he doesn’t care about something it is clear that it’s not on his to-do list and when it comes to money he clearly can talk about it with such believability that it’s jaw-dropping. Plummer has always been on my list of performers to watch, but in “All the Money in the World” he deserves an Oscar!
Other cast include: Timothy Hutton as Oswald Hinge, Marco Leonardi as Mammoliti, Giuseppe Bonifati as Giovanni Iacovoni, Nicolas Vaporidis as Il Tamia, Andrea Bodini as Corvo and Guglielmo Favilla as Piccolino.
“All the Money in the World” is a journey through this family’s story in the middle of a kidnapping heard round the world. I knew about the young boy being taken, but there is so much more that I didn’t know. That’s what makes this film even more interesting — it kept my attention with one jaw drop after another.
It is an interesting look at a family that proves money doesn’t buy happiness. The performances are brilliant but, as I said, it is the Plummer’s who steal the entire film. Director Ridley Scott delivers solid storytelling and gives us a thriller, drama and suspenseful look deeper inside a true story.
In the end — J. Paul Getty had a fortune and everyone else paid the price!