It wouldn’t be unfair to wonder whether All the Money in the World would have been viewed as much or made as much of a splash in the movie-world if it had not been for the Kevin Spacey scandal that surrounded it. Not that All the Money wasn’t appealing already. Spacey is a great casting but alongside him was Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams in a movie directed by Ridley Scott. The story itself is a famous one, chronicling the infamous events surrounding the kidnapping of John Getty III and the refusal from his super-rich grandfather to pay the ransom.
As you are watching you never get the impression this movie is anything but a solid, true-life drama. The performances are very good. Williams excels as the Mother desperate to get her son back and Spacey stand-in Christopher Plummer is also a triumph, managing to steal the movie in a role which is by far the most interesting. Wahlberg has little to do as Getty’s fixer while Charlie Plummer (no relation to Christopher) gives an underrated and understated performance as the kidnap victim.
The film manages to balance the two sides of the story fairly well. On one side is Getty III being kidnapped, shipped around and manipulated. You are on his side, desperate to see him escape. This side of the tale has some of the darker moments and you are led into a decent cat and mouse tale, with the audience and Getty III left with no idea who can truly be trusted.
The more dominant side of the tale is Williams’ desperate mother trying everything to get her son back. This is where the movie tails off slightly. At times it feels like it is burdened by truth, with the movie having to stick rigorously to key moments and actions and never being given the chance to break-out from under the “true story” moniker. The best moments involving this side of the tale is where Williams and Christopher Plummer go head-to-head, facing off with a public battle of wits that paints Getty as a money-hungry villain.
There is great potential for this movie to be a stand-out thriller but it does each of it’s key pieces so averagely. Nothing stands-out or elevates this above a generic kidnap thriller when it should be so much more. When the events do come to a head, you can’t help wondering if the shackles had been let loose slightly more, what Ridley Scott could have truly done with the tale.
Overall, Spacey scandal aside, there is little to interest anyone in this fairly mundane kidnap thriller. It has some great performances, with Christopher Plummer stealing the movie, but does little with some of the great potential it has. A waste.
Rating – 3
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