All The Money In The World 2017 movie

All The Money In The World – Richness absolutely does not make happiness

Sometimes, a story can be terrible even if we already know it will end well, such as All The Money In The World, a 2017 movie that fictionalizes in cinematic sauce the days of anguish after the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III.

Starting with this well-known news story in the mid-1970s, the great director Ridley Scott paints a ruthless portrait of the world behind the scenes for the 1 percent among the 1 percent of one of the wealthiest dynasties on the planet.

But the story’s real protagonist is not Jean Paul Getty, multi-billionaire and head of the lineage, but rather his hated daughter-in-law Abigail Harris, with whom the man had had strong disagreements in the past because she wanted to raise the children away from their grandfather’s influence.

As soon as she is informed of the kidnapping, Abigail flies to Rome and begins a long mediation with the kidnappers.

Still, of course, she does not have the $17 million demanded by the kidnappers for ransom, and so, giving up her pride for fear of her son’s life, she bends to ask her son-in-law for help.

As mentioned, their relationship has never been easy, and over the years, the situation has further deteriorated due to her husband’s growing drug addiction.

Yet despite the woman’s humility and especially the fact that the ransom represents a negligible sum for Getty, he refuses to pay.

So, Abigail desperately tries to buy time and accumulates as much money as she can while trying to make the kidnappers understand the situation so that they will lower their demands.

The only one who stands by her in those tragic days is Fletcher Chace, who, although working for Getty, openly despises her behavior and tries to help the poor mother with such an impossible task.

All the money in the cinema

Of course, at the time, journalists around the world cheered in front of the young Getty III‘s kidnapping, twisting the knife in the wound of the scandals behind the family and Mr. Getty Sr.‘s widely demonstrated reputation as a man fiercely attached to his money.

It is a drama bordering on the unbelievable that the whole world follows daily, criticizing the venial passion for his money and the visceral hatred of his daughter-in-law, enemy number one, to be marginalized in the Getty dynasty.

This moral duel between money and justice pushes the throttle to the maximum Ridley Scott, wise filmmaking master and an adept connoisseur of human psychology.

Claire Simpson‘s excellent editing helps David Scarpa‘s solid screenplay transform this biopic into a thriller that is practically a long and desperate breathless chase after the old man’s money, which he holds on to no matter what.

As an Italian, I can find, as usual, excellent work in reconstructing the environments and costumes of those times, but also (unfortunately) the usual reduction to stereotypes of some characters, such as the kidnapper played by Romain Duris.

I could not believe for a second his appearance, accent, and behavior of our southern criminals; although the French actor undoubtedly has talent, he does better with sentimental comedies like L’Auberge Espagnole or Heartbreaker.

Nothing to object about the rest of the cast, with the superb trio of Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, and Mark Wahlberg alternately dancing on the scene face to face.

My only criticism of this 2017 movie is the final act, too much of an action/thriller that clashes with the rest of the story, although Scott perfectly handles the camera with his unerring direction and, of course, All The Money In The World in his lavish productions.

Two major actors for the same role

True to his signature style, ever since his distant debut with The Duellist, Ridley Scott‘s movies have always promised a top-notch cast, and this one is no different.

In the role of the wealthy and unyielding Jean Paul Getty was originally Kevin Spacey, but after the notorious personal scandals (true or not) surrounding him, Christopher Plummer replaced and re-shot all the scenes of this character.

Although we will never know Spacey‘s performance (I have no doubt he would have been great), Plummer plays the role masterfully, with a stone-faced (note the analogy in the finale) utterly unconcerned about his mother’s anxiety and his grandson’s suffering in the hands of kidnappers.

Even worse, Getty Sr. sees the kidnapping as an opportunity for revenge, seeking to leverage the ransom money to permanently establish his power and control over the family.

On the other side of this personal war, Michelle Williams delivers an excellent performance as the troubled mother, encapsulating a touching mix of anger, weakness, and helplessness in the complexity of her character.

However, although abandoned by her wealthy son-in-law who, if he wanted, could immediately resolve the situation with a click on his bank account, if nothing else, this woman finds help in the determined Mark Wahlberg.

Obviously, the actor is no stranger to tough-guy roles, and again, he delivers an excellent performance as a former CIA agent who, despite being hired initially to control the woman’s actions, quickly takes her side, indeed using his experience to pinpoint the location of the kidnappers.

Ridley Scott pivots this trio of actors to perfection, always keeping the tension at the top by stylishly combining thriller and family drama.

Unfortunately, All The Money In The World was not a commercial success, earning little more than its production budget in 2017, despite being an intense and intelligent movie about how money can distort man’s mind, turning the misery of the weakest into his personal entertainment and power play.

All The Money In The World 2017 movie
Amazon Prime Video
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