Despite being directed by Ridley Scott, I’m willing to bet that this film would have flown under people’s radar had it not been for Christopher Plummer replacing Kevin Spacey, or at the very least, it would have garnered much attention as it would have done. Reports suggest that the re-shoot took 8 days to shoot and cost the film $10 million. After seeing All the Money in the World for myself, I can safely say that it was a $10 million worth spent.
All the Money in the world is a very cleverly written sombre thriller that creates its suspense through the silent treatment. Although you can expect one or two gruesome scenes, some people make the mistake where when they see the word “thriller” they instantly think of tense action and drama. While All the Money in the World delivers on the drama, don’t expect a lot of action. The script is very dialogue heavy and relies on this for the story to progress.
In the short time that Christopher Plummer has had to play the role of J. Paul Getty, he has done a remarkable job of bringing this character to life. Being the richest man in the world, there is a lot to explore with that contributing factor in mind. Writer David Scarpa has done a fantastic job of showing a character who must cope with being the man everyone turns to for money, and because of his skill as a masterful negotiator, always has to come out on top, even if it means destroying his relationship with his family which will be put to the test in this film.
Christopher Plummer will be the talking point of the film there is no denying, but what about the rest of the talent. The kidnapped John Paul Getty III, often called Paulo, played by Charlie Plummer (no relation) is the subject of the films most intriguing scenes as he sees the development of an awkward, reverse Stockholm Syndrome bond with the kidnapper Cinquanta (Romain Duris), these scenes are remarkable as they not work in getting to know Cinquanta has the most heart of all the kidnappers, but also sets the trail rolling for the more suspenseful scenes of the film.
All the Money in the World is also a very well shot film. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski has worked on many Ridley Scott films and despite the films heavy dialogue, his skill in composition is incredible. Wolski’s work in Ridley Scott films is becoming more incredible and visually appealing every time.
Michelle Willliams as Gail Harris, the mother of Paolo, is fantastic. Through her incredible performance the struggle that this character is feeling is translated to the audience with ease as her character must live with the kidnappers and the press thinking that she can easily pay off the ransom. Mark Wahlberg stars as ex spy Fletcher Chase who gets to see first hand the true colours of the Getty family. Mark’s performance is again very good proving that he doesn’t just have to star as a hardened patriot.
Fact, when watching All the Money in the World, you’re going to be looking out for those re-shoot scenes, being a big story in the film world it’s only natural. It does pain me to say that there are one or two scenes where the film does giveaway the scenes that we’re re-shot, such as Mark Wahlberg’s body mass changing, however you would have to be very eagle-eyed to spot this.
I felt that the events that transpire in the film felt like a very long drawn out build up towards a story development that sounded good on paper, but when put to screen, feels like filler for another film. Don’t get me wrong, the scenes were interesting enough, certainly enough to have your attention, however they felt like they were leading to a place, they go to that place, but the payoff wasn’t worth the buildup, only once does it pay off. The dialogue is very well written, we could have done with a bit more in the scenes category.
What is it nowadays with dramatic films using the same, greyish colour palette. You could argue that the colour correction is trying the match the overall tone of the film, however, we shift from one location to the other in a blink of an eye. One minute we’re in Rome, the next in London, shifting locations quickly spoils the tone of the film and the colour correction comes across boring, after all grey is stereo-typically a boring colour so make the scenes more interesting.
In short, All the Money in the World is a solid slow thriller with very well written dialogue and an incredible performance by Christopher Plummer given the circumstances. The Golden Globe nominations this film has receives are well deserved but to say that this film is an Academy Award hopeful is stretching it a bit. There are many elements in the film from the lack of payoff from the scenes and tone problems that do hinder its chances as snagging the coveted award. It is the characters and their performances that bond this film together, without they’re clear commitment to this project it would have the possibility of falling apart, but Ridley Scott has managed to pull it off.