All the Money in the World



22 December 2017| No Comments on All the Money in the World     by Sean Chavel



This major 1973 kidnapping docudrama in Italy has definite memorable moments, namely relaying all the essential details of how tycoon John Paul Getty III responded to his grandson’s ransom by refusing to pay it all because he was cheap. “If I pay the ransom for one I’ll have thirteen more kidnapped grandchildren.” All the Money in the World does not spit out sanctimony and it gets brownie points for dishing out all the cruel details. Ridley Scott is often an excellent director (“Blade Runner” and “The Martian” so easily come to mind). Here he seems to alternate between giving us images of great artistic polish and embellished extravagance with divvied shots that pander to dispensable commercialism.

In short, Ridley Scott gives us a really good movie at times that you wish had been very, very good and not just good in total. But I don’t want to short-change it. This is a solid movie with a few small holes that nevertheless features some big qualities in it.

There is the kidnapped grandson played capably by Charlie Plummer. But the focus of the story is perhaps Michelle Williams as Gail Harris, the mother, whom billionaire Getty is none too kind to – estranged, she is no longer family even though she is the sanest one here. A lot could be said about Williams here, and Scott devotes majority of screen time to her and yet refuses her any grand or shining moments (Scott likes the matter-of-fact approach). Williams is here tactile and emotive as usual. Mark Wahlberg plays a former CIA operative turned business advisor for Getty named Fletcher Chace who is there to negotiate and do whatever he can to help get the kidnapped boy back.

Now there is an issue of how Wahlberg calls spotlight attention to himself as an actor even when he does not intend to. Wahlberg is not bad. Yet what the film really needed for the part of Chace is a powerhouse performance featuring somebody who radiated world-weary intelligence, some natural prominence, and a chameleon who has a knack for blending into any social milieu. Wahlberg has the energy and matinee poster charisma for the part, but he makes Chace look like a person who would most fit into a loud discothèque of that time period. But if a part is going to be miscast in a Hollywood film, we can always do way worst than Wahlberg.

Finally, with vim and verve, there is the special performance by Christopher Plummer as bellicose billionaire Getty (hence, the film’s biggest quality). It’s arguably one of the two hundred best performances I’ve ever seen, and while a notch below Orson Welles in “Citizen Kane” or Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood,” it rivals with tier two performances of John Huston in “Chinatown” and Michael Douglas in “Wall Street” among best rich guy performances, as well as William Hurt’s bravura 8-minute turn as a merciless kingpin in “A History of Violence.” It’s practically a gift to us that Kevin Spacey with his awful face makeup was outcast in Hollywood following the sex scandals that unleashed in October of 2017, and replaced last minute. Good riddance to Spacey.

With a Christmas release date, Scott reshot all of Wahlberg and Williams’ scenes with Plummer right around Thanksgiving during what was seemingly nine days of rushed filming – which miraculously doesn’t come off chaotic when you watch it. The pacing of the movie is often excellent, with a little bit in the midsection an exception when it wanes for a few minutes. But gosh damn if Plummer doesn’t electrify with his megalomania every minute that he’s on-screen. He’s obsessive with that bottom line, reminiscent of every other tightwad, self-serving billionaire on the planet right now. Why not love the bottom line? It’s not like Getty was going to lose himself an ear over it.

132 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Obsession” (1976); “Munich” (2005); “Gomorrah” (2008, Italy); “The Counselor” (2013).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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