wed 08/12/2021

DVD: All the Money in the World | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: All the Money in the World

DVD: All the Money in the World

All in the family: Christopher Plummer refuses to pay Charlie Plummer's kidnap ransom in Ridley Scott's Getty drama

Boom or bust: Charlie Plummer in 'All the Money in the World'

It’s open season on the Getty dynasty. Last month the BBC documentary The Gettys: The World’s Richest Art Dynasty briskly coursed through the family archives. In March the TV drama Trust began on FX, scripted by Simon Beaufoy and directed by Danny Boyle.

But breasting the tape over Christmas was All the Money in the World, Ridley Scott’s account of the kidnap of J Paul Getty III in Italy in 1973. The film seems destined to be remembered for the excision of Kevin Spacey from the original cut, to be replaced by Christopher Plummer.

A great deal closer in age to the dynasty’s founding father, Plummer exudes steely magnificence as a study in epic miserliness: the man who has all the money in the world cannot buy love, nor bring himself to buy the freedom of his favourite grandson (Charlie Plummer, more recently seen in Lean on Pete) when he is whipped away from Rome and locked up in a Calabrian farm. The stony patriarch's love of art is articulated as a bond of trust between himself and reliably inanimate objects. Compare and contrast with Michelle Williams’s tense, redoubtable Gail Harris, the single mother of the kidnapped boy who bears the brunt of relentless press attention. She is the film's other acting treat. Mark Wahlberg feels slightly miscast as Getty’s security man who moves over into Gail’s camp and eventually reels off a fiery denunciation of his employer.

That this scene never happened can be taken as read. As can the distortions of this story, which includes the acceleration of J Paul Getty's death. The scenes with the kidnappers, including a ruthless band of ‘Ndrangheta hoodlums, feel wholly made-up, including the shoot-out and an 11th-hour chase. Romain Duris as the “good” kidnapper is a piratical and over-acted fiction. The one scene that offers the unvarnished truth – in which the victim is sundered from his ear – is almost unwatchable. At its best this is a firmly worded essay in the corrosive power of wealth. Scott lavishly captures the hot intensity of Italy and the deadening chill of England.


At its best this is a firmly worded essay in the corrosive power of wealth


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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