Tuesday 9 January 2018

Film: 'All the Money in the World'

Let's see if I can be the first(?) to write on this subject without mentioning, or simply alluding to, the 'Expunged K.S.' dimension. 

The belated import of Christopher Plummer and the grafting on of his many appearances here (oh, dammit!) has given the film a curiosity, a kind of inverted 'notoriety' quality. I guess that a not inconsiderable number of people will go to see it for this reason alone, people who might otherwise have given it a miss. In that respect I think we have to conclude that Ridley Scott has played his cards perfectly.

Plummer has a more central role than I'd been expecting, a lot more substantial than mere 'bit' appearances. He plays billionaire John Paul Getty, one of whose late-teen grandsons (the unrelated Charlie Plummer) is kidnapped by a gang of Italian roughs in Rome in 1971, leaving mother/Getty's daughter-in-law (Michelle Williams) distraught when a multi-million dollar ransom is demanded in return for sparing Getty's grandson. (The latter's father, and Getty's son, has gone to the dogs on drugs and booze - and is now divorced). Getty Snr, who has little regard for his daughter-in-law, refuses to help despite his having deep affection for the captured boy, on the grounds that if he pays up all of his other several grandchildren will be lifelong sitting ducks to undergoing the same fate. Getty Snr appoints a business acquaintance (Marky Mark) to try to solve the disappearance and get the boy safely back again. 
I was expecting that there'd be, after initial hostility between the single mother and the appointed investigator, a thawing between them and they'd soon be melting in each others' arms - as seems to be the regular cinema 'plot'.

There's a little violence in the kidnap sequences, though I have to single out for special mention a particularly grisly amputation scene.

It's quite a brisk film, which belies its 2h20m length. Ridley Scott  successfully managing to keep the tension going throughout. Although I do vaguely remember the story in the news at the time, I'd forgotten how it would end, and Scott gives nothing away before the required moments arrive. 
Much of the action is set, of course, in Italy - with scenes also at Getty's palatial estate in England. 
There's a bit of a revelation (to me) at the end as to why Getty Snr had been so reluctant to help.

Plummer does well in his role, though Michelle Williams is even better - remarkable, in fact. The real Getty Senior died at 84, Plummer is now 88 - and his early scenes (his first appearance is just five minutes in) flashing back some 20 years can't recapture a more (relatively) youthful character that the late octogenarian Plummer is required to play, not altogether successfully, though these scenes are only brief. And no, I didn't see any 'joins', and soon managed to stop myself looking for them.

It was a better film than I thought it might be. Ridley Scott, himself also now well into his 80s, continues to bring out films with a good quota of pumping excitements, and this is well up to the standard which we've come to expect from him. Not bad at all........................7


  1. This one sparked my interest because of the story, and then the added interest of Plummer's taking over after the film was done.

    I'm glad the story holds up and glad Michelle Williams is getting noticed. She's so good is so many different roles.

    1. I don't think it'll bore you, Bob - especially so given its unusual added interest feature.
      Michelle Williams is rapidly becoming the name of an actress of true star quality, and here she proves why.

      After posting the above I started wondering if my eventual rating was maybe a bit too generous, and that a 6.5 might have been nearer the mark. But I'll leave it as it is, not wishing to give any reason not to see it.

  2. I remember the incident as it happened, and the ending, and my mother's view at the time and her being rather dismissive because it was the Gettys and sort of "what more do you expect". Thank you for the review. I don't think I will be seeing the film, my view rather coloured by my mother's original thinking, completely erroneously of course.

    1. Maybe the value of a film like this is that it educates one on what happened or, as in my case, added context and detail to what was a vague recollection. Perhaps even for those like you who have better memory of the incident, it challenges ones thoughts at the time, the 'revelation', as I put it at the end of the film, presumably not having anything like the coverage that the actual kidnapping got. I valued its instructiveness.

    2. I am sure there is much I could learn from it, if it is indeed accurate.

    3. Ah well, that's always the question with these 'based on true story' films. One never knows the extent to which liberties are taken with the 'facts' to make it more exciting or more palatable - so it's always useful to keep a pocketful of salt handy.