In a film surrounded by controversy, with the sudden re-casting and re-filming of Kevin Spacey‘s role by Christopher Plummer and the dispute between Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg‘s pay for said reshoots, it was lucky that All The Money In The World actually made its release date. The producers took a bold and necessary decision and director Ridley Scott handled the whole reshoot process with grace, showing the legendary status the director has rightfully earned. The film focusses around the kidnapping of J. Paul Getty’s Grandson and the gruesome battle between Getty and his ex-daughter-in-law but the film fails to provide the gripping story to hook me into the story. The cast ranges from OK to excellent performances, and despite the courageous re-shoots the film undertook I can understand why the film missed the mark with Academy voters.
I have developed into a massive fan of Michelle Williams and she joins the small list of actresses who can be relied on to give great performances. I don’t think this performance will be one that she will be remembered for but she does carry the majority of the film’s emotional scenes. The final showdown in the small village is a payoff for her continuous commitment to her worrying mother role, credit should also be given to the actress for playing against the one-note Wahlberg. In my eyes, Wahlberg is an action star and should just stay in his lane. I think he looked a little ridiculous in his glasses and bulky suit, he should stick to shooting down villains and jumping from building to building. This is not a criticism of the actor, he has shown he is capable in comedic roles but serious, dramatic roles are not his forte.
I have heard many criticise the fact that Christopher Plummer managed to gain a Golden Globe nomination, especially as the film was only released just before the nomination deadline. Forgetting about that this film is a testament to the quality acting Plummer demonstrates, particularly impressive knowing the actor had only a few weeks to prepare for the role. It is refreshing to hear that Plummer was Scott’s first choice for the film, it is easy to see why as the actor portrays the greedy, clever billionaire with ease. His scenes with his young Grandson show the dynamic range of the character as he is eager to find a successor within his family that he can nurture and mentor. It is a great sign towards the Times Up movement that courageous decisions can be rewarded with Academy Award nominations, even if Plummer is unlikely to take home the statue on the night.
Visually the film has some great scenes, especially as through the Italian countryside. It is clear that Scott is still a master behind the camera, working effortlessly between sci-fi films like The Martian and Alien: Covenant to dramas like this. I David Scarpa‘s script needed a little more work, I feel like the film failed to engage the tension until the final third, this being a big issue as the trailers sold the film as a suspenseful thriller. My favourite scenes of the film came in the final act as the showdown between the kidnappers and Gail Harris to find her son is intertwined with scenes of J. Paul Getty suffering a heart attack surrounded by nothing more than his vast collection of expensive things.
As a younger audience member, I found the story intriguing having not known anything of the family, but felt the tension needed to be amped up to carry the film. The lack of tension did cause problems with the pacing of the film, this film is 2 hours 12 minutes but it feels almost longer. Scott demonstrates his extraordinary talent and Williams and Plummer sink into their roles with ease. In a changing industry, this is a step in the right direction from a studio to show its commitment towards eradicating sexual harassment from the industry. I’m glad that Spacey was re-cast and the other contributors to the film could still celebrate their contribution to the film with pride.
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