All the Money in the World

‘All the Money in the World’ proves Ridley Scott’s tenacity. Director of the ‘Alien’ movies and ‘Gladiator’ has consistently shown his determination in getting things done. When an unseemly scandal involving one of the film’s stars threatened to derail it, Scott simply re-shot his scenes with another actor. Such action would normally fracture a movie’s narrative due to dis-jointed editing. Little of that is seen with Scott’s latest despite other general inadequacies.

In 1973, masked men kidnap Paul (Charlie Plummer), the grandson of the world’s richest man, Jean Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer). Refusing their ransom demand, Getty aims to bluff it out. His daughter-in-law Gail (Michelle Williams) wants him to pay the ransom. Desperate to save her son, she will do anything to keep him from harm. Sending his security man Fletcher (Mark Wahlberg) to help Gail, Getty’s stubbornness puts him at loggerheads with those around him. With time running out, Gail’s worries reach fever pitch with the fate of her beloved child up in the air.

It’s ironic that ‘All the Money in the World’ captivates due to Christopher Plummer’s performance. Parachuted in at the last minute to replace actor Kevin Spacey, Plummer perfectly encapsulates Getty’s drive. A man obsessed and trapped by money, Getty knew how to use it to control people and events. A genuine sense of entitled arrogance shines through Plummer’s character, making it difficult believing anyone else could have done the role justice. Williams and Wahlberg pale in comparison with their performances lacking authenticity.

The biggest problem ‘All the Money in the World’ has is Scott’s direction. Over the last decade, the emotional quality of his work has diminished. There’s a cold, clinical feel to his stories with the absence of passion and urgency clearly seen. You feel Scott is going through the motions instead of teasing out the story’s drama. The script is also drawn-out despite true-life events promising compelling viewing. Not much of that is evident even if the Italian locations add immeasurably to the atmosphere.

‘All the Money in the World’ could have been much better than what’s presented. Moments rather than the overall movie catch fire with only Plummer’s rendition of an embittered tycoon generating interest. But all credit to Scott for turning a terrible crisis into a plus showing he shares the same strong minded will of the film’s damaged characters.

Rating out of 10: 6

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