Skip to content

January 5, 2018

1

All the Money in the World

by Franz Patrick


All the Money in the World (2017)
★★★★ / ★★★★

We all need money, but there are degrees of desperation. — Anthony Burgess

Christopher Plummer’s eyes are the stars of “All the Money in the World,” a dramatic thriller involving a teenager (Charlie Plummer) kidnapped in Italy during the early 1970s and his grandfather who refuses to pay a cent for his ransom despite the fact that the old man is the most successful capitalist in the history of the world. Fascinating from start to finish, as a character study and as a genre picture, Ridley Scott directs his project with a highly meticulous eye, a great exercise of maintaining tension and breaking it as well as a statement piece of our relationship as a society when it comes to the paper we worship.

The veteran performer plays the character like a sphinx, elegant and full of riddles between the lines. The character, J. Paul Getty, is written in such a way that it is nearly impossible to like him because no amount of money is enough to satiate his craving for it. And yet Plummer has a way about him that makes us wish to know Getty beyond what he values. For instance, during the first act’s important flashbacks, his interpretation of the capitalist is rather grandfatherly with hints of warmth despite the armor he has learned to put on over the years because people consistently wish to take advantage of his wealth.

His level of performance is matched by Michelle Williams as the increasingly determined mother. Notice how she changes her affectations depending on the individuals she is surrounded by. Gail provides the opposite force. Because of where she comes from, which the script is smart not to detail in order to avoid melodrama, she values family over money. Getty knows this, in a way looking down on her for it, and so he finds ways to challenge her ideals. Will she break at the pressures not only coming from the crisis involving her son but also from the man who wishes to cheapen her worth?

Beautifully shot, the film looks as though a heavy fog sits right on top of images thereby muting the colors and creating a cold or detached feeling about it. Initially, I thought the strategy is to mimic the look of crime-thrillers from the ‘70s and not much else. Upon closer inspection, however, I believe such a technique is employed in order to establish an air of unpredictability, that anything can and will happen at a drop of a hat. As the knot begins to tighten, the mother increasingly beleaguered because her billionaire former father-in-law refuses to pay seventeen million dollars, a blip in his earnings, we start to wonder whether the kidnappers value the teenager as much as Getty values his ancient artifacts.

Based on the book “Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty” by John Pearson, “All the Money in the World” offers an international texture about it, like those first-rate Korean and German procedural thrillers where you think you know where it is headed based on the mainstream Hollywood pictures we so often use as compass, but it goes on completely different directions at times. It invites thinking viewers to wade neck-deep into its dramatic presentation.

Advertisements
1 Comment Post a comment
  1. GaryGreg828
    May 13 2018

    I finally watched this last week, and enjoyed it for the most part, but my biggest complaint was I wanted Plummer’s character to have more screen-time; very intriguing character who made the audience hang on to his every word. I wanted to know what made a man like himself tick, and what would it take for him to give in…

    I didn’t care too much for the ending, as I felt like it was rushed, and that his death should have been given more emphasis. I wanted to know just what he was feeling and thinking in his final days; does the richest man in the world take pride in his wealth as his breaths are limited, and does he have any regrets, and if so, what are they? Does he believe in God – or does he remain atheist as he stares death in the face?

    But I guess this wasn’t the point of the film, as they keep the story on-track about the grandson’s ransom, but I feel the character of the grandfather was more interesting than anything else. Plummer was the prefect choice for this role, and I don’t know why they even cast Spacey in that ridiculous make-up in the first place.

    Reply

Feel free to leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: