All the Money in the World – Movie Review – An uneven drama with great performances.

Based on true events, All the Money in the World depicts the events surrounding the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, the grandson of the richest man in the world (at the time), John Paul Getty. As well as following his devoted mother’s desperate attempt, to convince his billionaire grandfather to pay the ransom.

The real life events this film is based upon is a rather interesting series of events, the script for this film on the other hand didn’t successfully maintain my interest for the whole of the films run time. The pace and structure is uneven for the first half. The film jumps about through different periods of time quite often and it felt rather jumbled. That being said the film really finds it’s momentum in the second half, and that’s when it starts to become more like the compelling experience I was expecting from the start.

The script does explore a number of things very well, such as the idea of the richest man in the world, not wanting to spend money on smaller things like getting his laundry done in a hotel. Simply because he fears that he still doesn’t have enough money and as he says in the film, he wants more. Also the idea of a man so rich being unwilling to pay the ransom for his grandsons safety is something I find very interesting, and some of his reasons for not wanting to pay the ransom surprisingly felt somewhat justified. The approach taken to showcase the invasive and suffocating obsession the press had with Gail (Michelle Williams) whilst this this entire situation was occurring is also well depicted. Something the script got wrong as the humour, I found that almost every attempt at humour fell flat and felt rather out of place within a story this dramatic.

Michelle Williams is great as the devastated mother Gail, she effortlessly showcases a range of different emotions, whilst always remaining grounded and never feeling over the top. We spend a lot of the film witnessing her fight and struggle to find a resolution that will get her son back alive, and her performance is one that makes you want to root for her success in this dire scenario. Mark Wahlberg portrays Fletcher, a former CIA operative who has had a working relationship with John Getty, but takes it upon himself to assist Gail in her fight to get her son back. He was good in the role and there isn’t really any criticism I could give towards his performance, but I can’t help but feel like he was miscast in this role. Every other actor in the film fit into the time period, whereas Mark stood out to me. His accent and appearance just didn’t match up with everything else in the film. The performance that will stay with you when you leave the cinema is Christopher Plummer’s scene stealing portrayal of John Getty. It’s a remarkable achievement that a performance of this calibre was done in just two weeks, after Kevin Spacey was infamously cut out of the film due to sexual harassment allegations. Plummer’s inclusion in the film doesn’t feel tacked on or rushed whatsoever. It all felt like his inclusion was a part of the production from the very beginning. The script is at it’s best when it gives Christopher some powerful, and sometimes metaphorical dialogue about money and power. It’s the type of performance where you are compelled to listen to every word he says. Romain Duris plays Cinquanta, one of the men who abducted J.P. Getty III. His performance was one of the most memorable as was his character. Without going into too much detail there’s a duality to this character that made him quite unpredictable to watch. He somewhat befriends J.P. Getty III and at times you are uncertain of his true motivations, and whether some of his more protective actions are genuine or not.

Daniel Pemberton’s musical score deserves a mention as well. It was effective at heightening the suspense during many of the scenes throughout the film.

Overall All the Money in the World isn’t as compelling as it ought to be, and that’s down to Ridley Scott’s slightly muddled direction, when handling the uneven first half of David Scarpa’s script. From the second half onwards the film begins to find it’s stride and the performances are great all round.


(3 Stars Out of 5)

-T. Graham.

All the Money in the World – Starring Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, Christopher Plummer and Romain Duris.

Directed by Ridley Scott.

Now showing in U.K. Cinemas.

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