All The Money In The World Review – Four Stars, Flawless Filmmaking

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All the Money in the World, from Sony Pictures Entertainment and Scott Free Productions, presents the true story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, the grand-son of the richest man in the history of the world.

Directed by Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World stars Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Williams, Romain Duris, Timothy Hutton, Charlie Plummer, Andrew Buchan, Marco Leonardi, and many talented supporting cast members and extras. Based on the book by John Pearson, All the Money in the World, was written for the screen by David Scarpa.

All the Money in the World opens in Rome, 1973, a young Paul, played by Charlie Plummer, was walking alone watching the celebrities arriving at alfresco café with paparazzi following fast, passing the famous Trevi Fountain, and crossing to the outskirts where the prostitutes were waiting for their turn at entertainment.

It was nearly 3:00am. He stopped answering someone calling his name and suddenly he was grabbed, pulled into a van, blindfolded, imprisoned and transported to southern Italy. A ransom is demanded.

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Flashing back to San Francisco we met Gail, played by Michelle Williams and John Paul Getty Jr., played by Andrew Buchan. It is Christmas 1963, and after a bender she is encouraging him to write a letter to his Dad and ask him for a job.

Soon, a telegram arrives and the family is summoned to Rome and finally John Paul, Jr., is working and as we hear John Paul III tell the story, in voice over, the job didn't last long as his dad, drank excessively and at a party in 1971 tried drugs and he was gone after that. An addictive personality didn't quite describe the scope of the Getty's families personalities.

When the family arrives in Rome, they are ushered to the hotel, driving past all the iconic sights, suddenly they are in the presence of the richest man in the history of the world, J. Paul Getty, played by Christopher Plummer.

Soon we find he has a tender, if it could be called that, for John Paul III, but fate intersecting with intoxicants can often derail even the strongest. So as it was for John Paul Getty, Jr and his wife Gail.

Returning to July 1973, Paul is confined chained like an animal when the world finds out that he has been kidnapped and his grandfather will not pay.

He summons Fletcher Chase, played by Mark Wahlberg, a former CIA agent working with Getty on security and discretionary matters. Today he is in ensuring Standard Oil doesn't muscle Getty's Saudi's into jumping ship.

This is when Gail and Fletcher begin to work to locate Paul. With J. Paul, trying to figure out how he can get a tax deduction on the ransom, time passes. Soon three months have passed and Gail and Fletcher are no closer to finding Paul.

Fletcher takes over, as he was instructed, he was to get Paul back as inexpensively as possible with out Gail knowing too much also. 

All the Money in the World is a money driven, true crime thriller, with an escape, rescue, betrayal and the constant pursuit to find the boy. It becomes a race against time, a tense standoff of calculation and strategy, and a clash of wills.

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No review of this film would be complete without mentioning the replacement of John Paul Getty which had been played by another actor caught up in a sexual harassment scandal and was to be shown at AFI Film Festival in November when the film was pulled and an announcement the casting of Christopher Plummer as Mr. Getty, and that both Wahlberg and Williams had agreed to reshoot the scenes.

Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg are brilliant. The film is flawless and whatever the issues were, All the Money in the World is immediately engrossing with Christopher Plummer taking ahold of this role and making it impossible to see anyone else as the Senior Getty.

With limited creative license, All the Money in the World is true and the events factual. The kidnappers, as desperation began to take over, cut off his ear and sent it to the newspapers. One of the kidnappers who survives the raid on the first location, Cinquanta, played by Romain Duris, remains with Paul the entire four months of captivity and develops guardian feelings.

Getty's pursuit of money led him to a darkness, devoid of any emotional capacity. Getty, himself, would probably explain the world is better for his efforts, and clearly the artistic world with the contributions his family made upon his death to create the famed Getty Museum, the treachery, deceitfulness, duplicitous, and worse the inability to "handle" the troubles that seem to follow the Getty heirs.

All the Money in the World is thoroughly engaging and doesn't hide the effects his wealth had on his children and grandchildren.

All the Money in the World is playing in select cities around the world and expanding to more theaters, both domestically and internationally, within the coming weeks. See this film!


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