Friday, December 22, 2017

Movie with Abe: All the Money in the World

All the Money In The World
Directed by Ridley Scott
Released December 22, 2017

Money is a powerful motivator. Those who have a lot of it want to keep it that way, and very often those who don’t have much find particular joy in taking it from those who seem to have too much. Extortion and ransoming are unfortunate practices that have arisen from this desire to get rich, and while those who threaten to hurt people so that they can take money from those who love them rarely get away clean, it’s still possible for a great deal of damage to be to done to all parties involved in the process.

J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) is the richest man in the world. The oil magnate, famous for having a phone booth installed in his home so that visitors would need to pay for their outgoing calls, is so obsessed with holding on to his money that he won’t even pay the ransom when his grandson John Paul (Charlie Plummer) is kidnapped, something that the boy’s mother, Gail (Michelle Williams) cannot believe and won’t accept, especially as the situation worsens and his abductors refuse to cave until they get what they demand.

This film has gained much publicity for the fact that Kevin Spacey was replaced by the elder Plummer a mere month ago after he was dropped from the film, and then it ended up with three major Golden Globe nominations earlier last week. Plummer, a natural choice for the part, certainly succeeds at convincing the audience of Getty’s singular desire to remain wealthy, and his screentime is quite expansive given the short shoot required for him to film his scenes. Williams is the only one in the cast actually acting, and it’s an overdone performance that feels out of place, especially next to Mark Wahlberg’s casual turn as Getty’s business manager and an unfortunately cast Romain Duris as the younger Getty’s primary abductor.

The film as a whole is dark, with the kidnapped Getty kept in dismal places while his grandfather spends hours walking throughout his vast home and barely even reaching each room. The commentary this film offers by telling this story about the disparity of wealth and the inexplicable need not to lose even one penny without purpose is far more compelling than the contents of the film itself, especially the ineffective dramatization of Getty’s time spent in captivity. There are moments in the film where the billionaire obsesses over his fortunes that seem so unbelievable that they’re laughable, but at least those scenes hit home more than the focus on his grandson, whose dire state isn’t painted in a particularly sympathetic light. Scott’s achievement in getting this film out with a replaced star is impressive, but this 132-minute film is still very clunky in a way that has nothing to do with Plummer’s performance.


No comments: