Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Movie Review: All the Money in the World

Immense wealth can be as much of a curse as it is a gift. J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) is the wealthiest man in the world after figuring out a way to export oil from Saudia Arabia. His devotion to his company has left him estranged from his son John Paul Getty II (Andrew Buchan). When the junior Getty needs a job, he reaches out to his father, who summons him to Rome with a telegraph. The film tells the story out of order beginning with Joh Paul Getty III or Paul (Charlie Plummer) being kidnapped by a group of poor Italians including Cinquanta (Romain Duris) who takes a liking to young Paul. Gail Harris (Michelle Williams), Paul's mother, is the one Cinquanta calls to demand the ransom money but she divorced her husband when he became a drug addict after he received a high paying job from his father. 

J. Paul Getty is still bitter that his daughter-in-law took custody of the kids so he refuses to meet with Gail and announces to the press that he will not pay the ransom for his son. Gail heads to his estate to confront him but he refuses to meet with her and instead send Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to help monitor the ransom negotiations. Cinquanta soon gets to know his captive and sympathize with him. The captors try to disguise their faces but mistakes are made and one of the criminals reveals his face to Paul. The captor threatens to kill Paul but Cinquanta gets in the way. Fletcher investigates the kidnapping but comes to the conclusion that Paul faked it, much to Getty's dismay. 

Disposing of the murderous captor allows the police to track the crew that kidnapped Paul and they stage a raid on the possible prison. Fletcher is wary that Paul will be killed in the crossfire but the police alert the criminals to their presence and they have to charge forward. Gail participates in the investigation and comes into the cell to identify Paul's jacket. Cinquanta has already moved from the hiding spot and made a deal with a powerful Italian mafia boss Mammoliti (Marco Leonardi) to invest in the kidnapping. The threats grow more gruesome under this new captor and Cinquant continues to negotiate with Fletcher and Gail. J. Paul Getty is reluctant to participate and does not change his mind about paying as he monologues about wealth. 

Everyone accuses Gail of not trying hard enough or having the money and holding out as she tries to convince her father-in-law to assist. Fletcher sees no way of getting the boy back and begins to consider the kid dead. Paul stages an escape by lighting a fire in a field and making a run for it. He makes it to a police station and calls his mother but Mammoliti catches him and brings him back. He decides to up the stakes by cutting off Paul's ear and sending it to the police, much to Cinquanta's dismay. The ear is sent to the newspaper and they notify the police but also ask Gail to pay her for the permission to print the image of the gruesome torture. Gail agrees for the price of a thousand papers, which she sends to J. Paul Getty. The images convince the billionaire to donate a quarter of the demanded ransom, four million, decreased from seventeen million, as long as he can deduct it from his taxes. Gail manages to get the rest of the money on credit and stages a drop off for the ransom. In a final scene, the exchange is made but Mammoliti is spotted by the police. Paul is nearly killed by a gangster but Cinquanta steps in to save him before Fletcher can take him away. J. Paul Getty dies from the stress and Gail inherits his expensive art collection.

All the Money in the World comes a bit heavy-handed with its message of immense wealth and the danger of loving money over family. The film drags throughout and there are no real likable characters beyond Gail. Wahlberg brings his charm but I'm not a fan of his acting while Plummer steps into a role late after disgusting sexual allegations against the previous star of the film. Michelle Williams probably does the best job and is the main reason to see this film along with interesting history that I had no idea about. That just goes to show, one can spend their life trying to become something grand and slowly be forgotten though I feel like I know a lot more after Ridley Scott's mediocre film. 

No comments:

Post a Comment