Being a Ridley Scott movie would usually be all it takes to get me to show up at a movie. All the Money in the World, however, got a special bonus by being involved in the entire fiasco surrounding Kevin Spacey and the brave and spectacular move by Ridley Scott to reshoot Spacey’s scenes with the delightful Christopher Plummer. Oh yeah and he did this without shifting the movie’s release date.
Out of pure curiosity of how Ridley Scott pulled this off, I simply had to check this movie out. All the Money in the World ended up being much different than I imagined it would be. Plummer has a much larger role than I anticipated as J. Paul Getty, the shrewd and harsh tycoon who refuses to pay a multi-million dollar ransom for his grandson. He is clearly a person you are meant to hate in the movie, which I honestly found quite difficult because Plummer is so charming, but still Plummer pulls off the complexity of a terrible person and while still showing the reasoning, flawed as they might be, behind his actions.
Similarly I was surprised of how little Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg are actually in the movie. They both are perform well in their roles but aren’t given a ton to do because the movie actually mostly focuses on the kidnapped teenager John Paul Getty III. Played by Charlie Plummer (no relation to Christopher), the mostly silent role of a prisoner is really the heart of the movie, especially his relation to Cinquanta, one of the kidnappers, played by French actor Romain Duris, who is simply fantastic in this movie.
The movie bounces back and forth between Michelle William’s desperate attempt to break through to J. Paul Getty to save her kidnapped son with the aid of Walhberg, and the escalating conditions surrounding John Paul III and his captors. While Christopher Plummer is captivating in his portrayal, the moments surrounding the kidnappers I found much more interesting, including a vicious scene where you witness a part of young John Paul III being forcefully removed as a sign of the severity of the demands. What I’ll remember most is Romain Duris’ conflicted kidnapper, who gets a sort of reverse Stockholm Syndrome as he slowly learns to care about and protect the boy that he helped to kidnap.
As a whole, All the Money in the World is a fascinating watch. The subject matter of the Gettys (which is way before my time) is incredibly interesting, especially Christopher Plummer’s role as one of the richest and most frugal people ever. That Ridley Scott pulled off replacing Kevin Spacey at the eleventh hour is incredibly impressive and the fact that Plummer is able to pull off such an interesting role in such short of time is equally impressive. That might ultimately be what people remember about this movie, but I will also remember the secondary tale. The one about a kidnapper who does a terrible thing and then learns to care for the one person that he wronged so badly.