The term ‘all the money in the world’ is often used to describe what it would take to part with something you love. In the case of the abduction of Jean Paul Getty’s grandson in the early seventies, no amount of money in the world would have been a better term to go with. When it comes to money there is little understanding between the people who have it and the ones who don’t which often leads to a lack of empathy on both sides. With the Getty case you would think that both sides would agree that family has some worth, but would you really be surprised if they didn’t?
Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) as you can tell from her last name is not a Getty, she just married one. When things don’t work out between her and her husband and while she could have had more money than she needed, all she wanted was her kids. A name though carries a lot of weight and her son Paul (Charlie Plummer) was a Getty by blood, which made him a target that someone decided to hit by kidnapping him. Paul’s grandfather is Jean Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) who is the richest man in the world, so when the kidnappers ask for seventeen million dollars you would think it would not be a problem. What we discover is the value of Paul to his grandfather as he announces he plans to give nothing for the return of his grandson. Instead Jean Paul brings in Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to help in the return of Paul and to do the job that he is known for which is negotiating the real cost to get him back. What follows is based on a true story that sounds too crazy to be made up.
Preparing for this movie I did my own little research on the web to find out all I could about what happened. What I learned was enough to peak my interest more on how they would tell this story. With a run time a little over two hours there is a few times the film feels a little long, but with so much to tell you forgive it for its length. There is a lot to get in there and screenwriter Davis Scarpa does a fine enough job from John Pearson’s novel. If you can avoid, unlike me reading what happened until after the film you will be rewarded with a few suspenseful buildups that make waiting worth it. The story is not the only thing “All the Money in the World” has going for it as Michelle Williams is brilliant and is worth the price of admission herself. While Williams is great, the roles that both Plummer and Wahlberg feel like they could have been played by someone else, someone who would have been William’s equal, something neither of these men are.
Of course, Plummer was a late addition after the studio decided to reshoot the role that was originally played by Kevin Spacey. While Plummer is fine, there is a feeling of what could have been that we will never know the answer to. “All the Money in the World” is good because its strong points are better than its weaker ones and while this feels like a safe film for Ridley Scott, it is nonetheless still a Ridley Scott film which for the most part something worth seeking out. Watch this one for the story and for Williams and enjoy a film you might hear more about come award season.