You have to admit what Ridley Scott did was admirable. He saw an issue and handled it like a boss. When star Kevin Spacey was outted as a malicious and vicious predator, Scott saw it fit to recast Spacey with Christopher Plummer and re-shoot the whole thing six weeks before release. Though the film will be marred by the accusations, and, certainly, they will be consistently brought up, Scott saw an opportunity to right an egregious wrong whilst also going back to his original plan (Plummer was Ridley Scott’s first choice for the role.) But does his gamble pay off?
It certainly does. But that’s because constant and consistent brilliant actress Michelle Williams who is a tour-de-force here.
All The Money In The World revolves around J Paul Getty III who, whilst in Spain, is kidnapped with a hefty 7 million dollar ransom on his head. With the family devastated, his mother Abigail turns to his grandfather J Paul Getty who happens to be the richest man that has ever existed. Simple, right? Wrong as Getty refuses to pay a single dime. With time passing and the kidnappers getting violent, Getty enlists the help of adviser Fletcher Chase to help find his supposed beloved grandson and those who kidnapped him.
The biggest shame about the accusations is that it casts a long shadow across the film when, really, we should all be talking about how amazing Michelle Williams is. Actually, can I rewrite my introduction? Can we just talk about how spectacular Michelle Williams is? Here, as a tortured yet determined woman focused primarily on getting her son back, Williams gifts us with a tremendous and quaking performance. Utilising Abigail’s dialect and her steely disposition, she spars off with men who try to undermine her. Never accepting Getty’s fortune whilst she was married to his son, Abigail tries desperately to get her son back and has to twist through Getty’s game to illicit a financial response off him. In Abigail, Williams’ resolve and poignant performance consumes every second of the film, and this should be the focus of criticism first and foremost.
That being said, Christopher Plummer’s task at taking on a character, learning the script, and performing to great ability shouldn’t go unnoted and he makes a wonderfully complex villain in Getty, torn between his manner, his money, and his megalomania. It’s a terrific role and Plummer fantastically fleshes Getty out beyond his ruthlessness. Mark Wahlberg is apt in his role as Chase whilst the young Charlie Plummer’s makes for brillaint doe-eyed JP Getty III.
Ridley Scott’s thriller is a turbulent and beautifully shot film that utilises the beauty of Rome and Italy as well as the period. He captures a seediness in both Getty and the Kidnappers as they showcase a lacking for humanity reflecting this in the country-scape.. His thriller is an unravelling and engaging one that flits through the worry and fright of a woman and her son. An utterly captivating film, All The Money In The World sees wealth and greed as the souless entities they are.
All The Money in the World is out now!