All The Money in the World

In 1973, masked men kidnapped a teenager off the streets of Rome. He was the favourite American grandson of J. Paul Getty, the richest man in the world. Nobody gets that rich by being nice, and Getty is not. And of all the shitty things he is, miserly is one of them. You don’t get to be a billionaire by spending your money, after all. So when the kidnappers demand $17 million for him, Getty refuses. “Very little in life is worth paying full price for” he says, but he doesn’t plan to negotiate, he plans on just not paying. “It’s an awful lot of money for such a young boy.” But you can imagine how well that goes over with Junior’s mother.

JPG III, 16 at the time of his kidnapping, has a strong-willed mother, Gail, and thank god. But Gail (Michelle Williams) has no money of her own and no access to her allthemoney2former father-in-law’s fortune. Getty (Christopher Plummer) is pretty set in his ways, and to avoid dealing with his mouthy daughter-in-law, he sends his “security guy” Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to do the dealing for him. But will this weird and uneasy alliance be enough to save Junior (Charlie Plummer, no relation)? If you were alive at the time you likely already know the answer.

If you’re alive right now and not willfully burrowing under some very thick boulders, you’ve probably heard that Kevin Spacey was originally tapped to play Getty Senior. Spacey’s creepy past caught up with him just a month before this film was to be released, which left producers scrambling. Ultimately, director Ridley Scott decided to reshoot Getty’s 22 scenes with another actor who had read for the part, Christopher Plummer. They filmed for 10 days and then frantically re-edited, and what results is a role for which Plummer received an Oscar nomination. Mark Wahlberg had costar approval built into his contract, and he refused to approve Plummer unless he got paid an additional $1.5M to come in for the reshoots. This eventually blew up in his face when it was reported that Michelle Williams only received her per diem of $800 per day. Wahlberg ended up donating the $1.5M to the #TimesUp campaign to stem the backlash. It’s fair to say this movie was under a lot of scrutiny before it was ever released, and I admit I wondered if Plummer’s nomination was perhaps just a reward to the film’s production crew for so quickly doing the right thing, but now I just think it unfairly overshadowed what is indeed an Oscar-worthy performance – by Michelle Williams.

All The Money In The World obviously has a lot to say about the soul-suckingness of money, at its centre is an old man with a corroded heart, but Christopher Plummer manages to play him with just a touch of warmth, which is an interesting surprise. There’s a compelling story here with great acting (with the exception of Wahlberg, who isn’t so much bad as just useless, extraneous), but the movie is just a little muddled (and a little fond of unadorned exposition). It flits between genres – family drama, crime, thriller. At its core though it’s really about this epic tug-of-war between a frantic mother and a cold grandfather, the struggle between love and money, and that’s a story that never gets old.

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16 thoughts on “All The Money in the World

  1. Birgit

    I do want to see this film which is also about greed and I think it seems to fit with Mark Wahlburg who was shrewd enough to hold off until he got his money…and not caring much about his co-star which is not unusual in any field of work when you think about it. If this should happen again, you better believe other actors will follow what wahlburg did. Not giving the money away which Mark had to do if he didn’t want to get skewered but asking for a lot of money or else they won’t do re-shoots. Now I have to look up this film and the true story behind it

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  2. ninvoid99

    I heard Christopher Plummer was Ridley Scott’s first choice for the role but the studio said Plummer isn’t a draw. He was in fucking Sound of Music!!!!!! How the fuck is he not a fucking draw? Christopher Plummer….. is….. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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  3. Liz A.

    I loved the SNL skit where they talked about Wahlberg’s donation. That while it was the right thing to do, why did it take a week of public shaming? And it was bad in the first place.

    And it turns out he’s not even that good in the film? That’s just… *shakes head*

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  4. Pingback: Oscar Nominations 2018 | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

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