Wednesday, April 11, 2018

All the Money in the World

Movie Name: All the Money in the World
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Plummer, Romain Duris, Timothy Hutton, Charlie Shotwell, Andrew Buchan, Marco Leonardi, Giuseppe Bonifati
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer

The prolific Ridley Scott is back, following his big budget "Alien: Covenant". "All the Money in the World" created all sorts of noise in the media, when original cast member Kevin Spacey was replaced by Christopher Plummer, when the film was just a few weeks away of premiering. The film focuses on the Getty family, specifically on the events that took place in the 70s, when John Paul Getty III, at the time a young teenager of 16, got abducted in Italy. The family had moved there, so his father could run the oil business that was headed by his grandfather, the tycoon by the name of John Paul Getty. At the time, the kidnappers demanded a ransom of 17 million dollars, money that his mother did not have (she was already divorced from his father, himself a drug addict), forcing her to go to the elder Getty. His grandfather blatantly refused to forfeit the money, and sent a former CIA agent to assess the situation. As time progress, things just escalated for the young Getty and for his safety.
At this point Ridley Scott shoots films almost non stop, releasing a new film every year, with the quality barometer being a bit all over the place. For every solid film such as "The Martian", there seems to be an "Exodus" or "The Counsellor", themselves deeply flawed features, borderline unwatchable. "All the Money in the World" falls somewhere in between those two groups: it's a film impeccably mounted and shot, something that is typical in Ridley Scott, but it's film that lacks a spark, and more of a point of view to indicate a pulse, in order to provide a glimpse into the nightmare that family lived. It's a glacial film, very restrained, where only the performance of Christopher Plummer gives the film an edge and a crooked heart. Michelle Williams, typically a great performer, feels miscast in the role, as does Mark Wahlberg, who appears to be lost in the proceedings. This is a film that needed a sense of urgency, of exacerbated greed, something that is never really conveyed. It's more of a distant illustration of some events, without making it sufficiently real. As much as the work of cinematographer Darius Wolski is impeccable, the disaturated tone of the film (as is habitual with some Scott films), feels like an odd stylistic choice. Another minor film in the career of a veteran and very prolific film director.