After making headlines for its daring recasting decision and now creeping into the ongoing Awards race, Ridley Scott returns to the director's chair for his latest, the hotly discussed endeavour: All the Money in the World.

It's perhaps more fitting to rename Scott's latest effort something more along the lines of 'All the Balls in the World' after the director threw out Kevin Spacey for Christopher Plummer to play the business mogul and billionaire J. Paul Getty - after the former was slammed with sexual misconduct allegations - and reshot a large portion of the film (which had already been completed, it should be noted) in a mere few days to still get it out for its initial, intended release date. It's all the publicity (in the world) a studio promoting a film could dream of and there has been much hubbub as to whether or not the now-80-year-old director could pull it off... well, it is with great joy that I can report that he has managed to do just that. Out goes the Spacey, in comes Plummer, and with a little of that Scott magic, we have a riveting drama here. It's hard to imagine a film even existed without Plummer.

The story on hand follows the infamous kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer), the grandson of the aforementioned wealthiest man in the world at the time (or, as young Paul's narration informs us "not only the richest man in the world but the richest man in the history of the world"). When the kidnappers demand a hefty ransom from Getty, he refuses - "there is very little in life worth paying full price", he says boldly - and so it is up to his daughter-in-law Gail (Michelle Williams), with the help of former-CIA agent Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg), to try to persuade the arrogant Getty to pay up to save his grandson - promised by his captors that the longer they wait, the less of him they will get back. It's a fascinating story but it mainly acts as a vehicle for an array of impressive work - both in front and behind the camera - and the performances are superb.
The likes of Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Plummer, and Romain Duris as the kidnapper Cinquanta with a heart of gold make up an impressive supporting cast; they all deliver very strong, believable work. Of course, there is a lot of talk surrounding Christopher Plummer's casting in the film but it feels perfect - almost too good to be true, and makes you wonder why Spacey was ever even cast in the first place with his latex mask to make him seem older? Plummer is excellent as Getty and his scenes are amongst some of the film's strongest; this is a very despicable, arrogant human being and the actor is clearly revelling in this power and stubbornness that makes Getty such an antagonising, almost terrifying presence at times. He's also just an intriguing man and it's fascinating to watch how distanced he is from his family and all humanity, really, because wealth has gotten to his head. But All the Money is undoubtedly Michelle Williams' show to steal and she gives an astounding performance here, one that feels so subtle and subdued yet so fierce and emotionally charged too - finding the perfect balance of tough and tender.

Whilst the colour palette is dry and a little uninspired, the cinematography is mesmerising enough that it breathes life into an otherwise fairly bland aesthetic. As for the film itself, it is a fascinating story and David Scarpa's screenplay tackles this story in a very intriguing and entertaining manner but, at 132 minutes long, the narrative can feel a little plodding and tedious at times - the initial set-up, especially, takes us back and forth between countries and years and it feels very choppy and jarring to follow along with; even after this, the film struggles to find a consistent pace that feels seamless and the film often finds itself ebbing a little unevenly. The reshoots are hard to distinguish and Scott has really managed to make the film and Plummer's scenes feel so seamless - given how much screen time he actually has, it's baffling to think of how natural it all feels, to the point where those unaware of the recasting will just think this is how the film always was, with Plummer a part of it from the start. All the Money in the World is by no means a perfect film, it has its ups and downs... but it's a richly conceived, riveting drama nonetheless that offers up a plethora of subliminal work and shows us just why Ridley Scott is such a tour-de-force - for not only crafting such a fine piece but autocorrecting it with such finesse and oomph too. He takes no shit. And it's why he's so great.

All the Money in the World is a riveting - if a little plodding - drama that offers up a plethora of great performances, all seamlessly crafted and autocorrected by Ridley Scott  - once again showing us just why he is a tour-de-force.

Tagged as

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

Related Posts