Saturday, May 11, 2019
All the Money in the World
Based on the non-fiction novel Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty, All the Money in the World is about the real-life story of the abduction of John Paul Getty III by an Italian Mafia group who hold him from ransom where his grandfather J. Paul Getty refuses to cooperate and give the group no money. Directed by Ridley Scott and screenplay by David Scarpa, the film is a dramatization about the real-life abduction of John Paul Getty III as his mother and a former CIA operative try to save him despite his grandfather’s refusal to pay anything for the boy’s safety. Starring Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Plummer, Romain Duris, Timothy Hutton, Stacy Martin, Andrew Buchan, and Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty. All the Money in the World is a gripping yet chilling film from Ridley Scott.
In July of 1973, 16-year old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) was kidnapped by a mysterious Mafia group in Rome as they hold him for a ransom of $17 million which his grandfather in J. Paul Getty responds with no deal. That is the film’s premise as a whole as it play into this real-life event relating to a large ransom that is to be paid by the richest man in the world yet he refuses believing it is a hoax. David Scarpa’s screenplay is largely straightforward as it begins with Paul’s kidnapping and stories about his grandfather’s wealth and how he got extremely wealthy but also a family life with his mother Abigail (Michelle Williams) and his father J. Paul Getty Jr. (Andrew Buchan) that was quaint and simple until the latter was given a big job from his father that eventually lead him to drug and alcohol abuse and Abigail divorcing him with a desire of wanting full custody of their children including Paul.
Getty would hire his Getty Oil negotiator Fletcher Chace (Mark Wahlberg) to see if Paul is really lying as well as to help Abigail through his previous work in the CIA. Chace initially works with Abigail just to help Getty but eventually realizes the seriousness of Abigail’s search as he would start to help her more. The script also play into Paul’s time as a hostage as his kidnapper Cinquanta (Romain Duris) becomes sympathetic while knows that Paul is just a good kid that is an unfortunate situation that is made worse following a mistake by a kidnapper and later be treated far more cruelly by Cinquanta’s boss Mammoliti (Marco Leonardi) raising the stakes. With Getty even considering paying the ransom, it would come with some conditions that add more furor to Abigail’s problems with the family with Chace in the middle over whom he should be loyal to as well as wanting get Paul back home to safety.
Ridley Scott’s direction is definitely vast in terms of its setting and the world that Getty lives in which is quite huge for someone who has amassed a great deal of wealth that he built himself. Shot on various locations in Italy, Great Britain, and parts of Jordan, the film does play into this world that has made Getty legendary for what he’s done such as a deal he made with Bedouin sheikhs in getting their oil to the world. While there are some wide shots of the locations where Getty and his family live in including the quaint world that his son, Abigail, and their kids were living in the mid-1960s in San Francisco. The usage of close-up and medium shots as it play into the relationships of the family and the dramatic tension that occur. Notably as the wide shots also play into the disconnect between Getty and his family as the former is surrounded by artifacts, stock reports, and all things that makes him comfortable yet he is aware of how cruel the world can be and doesn’t really trust anyone including his own family. Scott’s direction definitely play into this man’s need for control as well as wanting more money such as a scene of him inspecting this rare painting as he considers not buying it due to its condition not being suitable to him.
The scenes involving Paul’s kidnapping does have this air of intensity as it relates to Paul’s attempts to escape his captors as well as some of the brutal moments he endure. The dramatic intensity also occur with Abigail desperately trying to get her son back with Chace’s help as it include phone calls with Cinquanta and other officials. Even as Abigail tries to find ways to get the money herself without Getty’s help where Scott definitely know when to play up the drama as well as find some semblance of hope in the film. Scott’s direction definitely shows someone who can bring wonders to a story as simple as this but also show how professional and skillful he can do in re-creating scenes that were shot before with Kevin Spacey in the role of Getty only for Spacey’s personal life to nearly ruin things prompting Scott to do re-shoots with Christopher Plummer in the role for a nine-day shoot as if Spacey never existed. Overall, Scott creates a thrilling and captivating film about the real-life kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III and the ransom that his grandfather refused to pay.
Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography with the usage of black-and-white for a few scenes including a flashback scene of Getty in his rise to great wealth as well as some colorful looks for some parts of the film such as bluish tints for the scenes at Getty’s home in Britain to the usage of low-key and desaturated colors for the scenes in Italy. Editor Claire Simpson does excellent work with the editing with its usage of rhythmic cuts as well as letting shots linger for a bit to play into the suspense and dramatic tension. Production designer Arthur Max, with set decorators Richard Roberts, Letizia Santucci, and Nasser Zoubi plus supervising art directors Andrew Munro and Cristina Onori, does amazing work with the look of the Getty estate and his buildings and such that is surrounded by valuable and priceless artifacts that is a sharp contrast to the home of Paul’s captors who live in decayed farms in the middle of desolate farmland. Costume designer Janty Yates does fantastic work with the look of the clothes that Paul wears that was a style of the 1970s as well as the look of Abigail from the 1960s.
Makeup designer Tina Earnshaw and hair designer Ferdinando Merolla do terrific work with the hairstyles of the time in the 1960s and 1970s for Getty’s family along with some gory makeup for a key scene in the film’s third act. Special effects supervisors Simon Cockren and Maurizio Corridori, with visual effects supervisor Gary Brozenich, do nice work with the visual effects as it feature bits of set dressing including one key shot of Getty in Saudi Arabia. Sound editor Oliver Tarney does superb work with the sound as it play into the tense atmosphere that Paul endures in his capture as well as the sparse sounds of stock machines at Getty’s home. The film’s music by Daniel Pemberton is wonderful for its low-key orchestral score that help play into the suspense and drama while its music soundtrack feature an array of music from rock, pop, classical, and opera from the Zombies, Gianni Morandi, the Rolling Stones, Fred Buscaglione, Domenica Arlotta and Giuseppe Buieti, and Camaleonti.
The casting by Carmen Cuba is great as it feature some notable small roles from Clive Wood as Getty’s butler Bullimore, Kit Cranston and Maya Kelly in their respective roles as the younger versions of Paul’s siblings in Mark and Aileen, Charlie Shotwell as the younger version of John Paul Getty III, Ghassan Massoud as an Arab sheikh who does business with Getty, Nicolas Vaporidis as an abductor who unfortunately reveals his identity, Giuseppe Bonifati as Gail’s attorney Giovanni Iacovoni, Marco Leonardi as Cinquanta’s boss Mammoliti who doesn’t care for Paul’s well-being, Stacy Martin as Getty’s secretary, Timothy Hutton as Getty’s attorney Oswald Hinge, and Andrew Buchan as Paul’s father John Paul Getty Jr. as alcoholic/drug-addicted father who is more concerned with getting high than being a father.
Romain Duris is fantastic as Cinquanta as the lead abductor who holds Paul for ransom while he gets to know the boy as he realizes he’s just a good kid that is put in a bad situation as he is aware of what his boss would do after things got bad where he would be the one to contact Gail about the ransom and ensure the boy’s safety. Charlie Plummer is excellent as John Paul Getty III as a sixteen-year old kid who is the grandson of the richest man in the world who is just a teenage boy that becomes the victim of a ransom that becomes troubling and as he deals with the physical, emotional, and mental torture he endures. Mark Wahlberg is brilliant as Fletcher Chace as an adviser for Getty who also used to work for the CIA as he is hired to find out if Paul is really creating a hoax only to help Gail in getting Paul back while questioning his own loyalty for Getty.
Michelle Williams is amazing as Gail Harris as Paul’s mother who is trying to get her son back any way she can as she also is aware of her former father-in-law’s refusal to help out as well as to try and control her life as it’s a fierce and gripping performance from Williams. Finally, there’s Christopher Plummer in an incredible performance as J. Paul Getty as the then-richest man in the world who is willing to find ways to make money and have the most priceless artifacts out there as he believes that his grandson is faking his abduction while there is this sense of warmth in the performance that shows the complexity of Getty as it’s another of Plummer’s masterful performances.
All the Money in the World is a remarkable film from Ridley Scott that features great performances from Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams, and Mark Wahlberg. Along with its ensemble cast, stylish visuals, and intense approach to suspense and drama. It’s a film that showcases a real-life event and what some will do to get a person back as well as how one person is trying to protect his own world believing that there is no price for anything. In the end, All the Money in the World is a sensational film from Ridley Scott.
Ridley Scott Films: (The Duellists) – Alien - Blade Runner - (Legend) – (Someone to Watch Over Me) – (Black Rain) – (Thelma & Louise) – (1492: Conquest of Paradise) – (White Squall) – (G.I. Jane) – (Gladiator) – (Hannibal) – (Black Hawk Down) – (Matchstick Men) – (Kingdom of Heaven) – (A Good Year) – (American Gangster) – (Body of Lies) – (Robin Hood (2010 film)) – Prometheus - (The Counselor) – (Exodus: Gods and Kings) – The Martian - (Alien: Covenant)
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