Sunday, December 31, 2017

Film Review - All The Money In the World

After seeing All The Money In The World it's hard to understand why Ridley Scott originally cast a highly made up Kevin Spacey over hastily secured replacement Christopher Plummer as John Paul Getty in the first place. Plummer is mesmerizing as the eccentric billionaire who made the majority of his fortune after figuring out how to get oil out of the desert in Saudi Arabia in 1948 then inventing the Oil Tanker to ship it. Spending most of the day looking at stock Ticker to determine how many millions he has made in the stock market in 1973 at Sutton Place his 16th-century English estate. It's in the setting that his grandson John Paul III (Charlie Plummer) is kidnapped in Rome by the Red Brigade then sold to the Italian mob once the idealists realized that Geddy had no plans to pay the ransom. In the patriarch's mind, everything was negotiable even the fate of a grandchild putting his top Middle East deal negotiator ex CIA spook Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) on the case to get a reasonable price.

Director Scott now in his eighties continues a prolific pace of filmmaking that also included directing Alien Covenant this year along with producing roles on Blade Runner 2049 and Murder on The Orient Express. Scott sets the feel of the era from the opening scene where young Paul wonders through the seedier section of Rome late at night in a relaxed casual pace until a van pulls up beside snatching him off the street. Scott focuses in on the grittier parts of the narrative sourced from John Pearson's book including the treatment of Paul in captivity, the frailties of Paul's dad (Andrew Buchan) or the interplay between both sets of captors. Look for the depiction of the crushing paparazzi in the piece that soak up every ounce of the drama playing out in the eternal city.

Cinquanta (Roman Duris) is the link between the idealists and the mob developing a Stockholm syndrome buddy type bond with Paul. He's the main one on the phone negotiating with the family when not dying to be the voice of reason with the mobsters holding Paul employing them to be a little less intrusive with their methods. Paul's mom Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) is most often on the other side of those calls. Not a Getty by birth but educated smart and willing to face the old man head on to get her son back.

All The Money In the World is a suspenseful telling of a historical event that many viewers will know some of the details heading into the theatre. It's a tribute to Scott and writer David Scarpa alongside strong acting from Williams and the elder Plummer to keep the audience in the narratives grip. It's a rare peek into the generational nuances of a dynastic family that's well worth the watch.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

All The Money In The World | Ridley Scott | U.S.A. | 2017| 132 Minutes.

Tags: Rome, Kidnapping, John Paul Getty , Getty Oil, Ransom, Art, Antiquities, Stock Market, Stock Ticker, Telephone Booth.

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