“All The Money In The World” checks many boxes of a good film, but it is still a chore to sit through.
The film tells the story of the kidnapping of a teenager Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer). His mother (Michelle Williams) desperately tries to convince the boy’s billionaire grandfather – Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) – to pay the ransom. Whilst the negotiations between the various parties become hopeless, the clock is ticking.
Ridley Scott was once a great director. He was a Hollywood favorite by all means. However, most of his recent work proves that Scott’s prime time is long gone. “All The Money In The World” is still much better than God-forbid-to-watch-it-again “Prometheus”, mediocre “Alien: Covenant” or the worst-of-them-all “The Counselor”. Nonetheless, it is a flat reenactment of the real story, which over the course of two hours fails in engaging the viewer.
The good thing is that the plot very quickly movies towards the main storyline. Scott avoids wasting time on too much background. Paul’s once-happy family derails on screen within few minutes, jumping from Christmas dinner together to drug-addicted father and separation. Surprisingly, it doesn’t feel far-fetched, because Scott firmly moves forward.
Things look even more promising once Christopher Plummer, who filled the blank after Kevin Spacey’s career plummeted down, appears on screen. I obviously cannot tell how would the film look if Spacey starred in it, but Plummer is a fantastic choice. His character is a greedy, yet towering manipulator. There is layers to Paul Getty, that Plummer expresses one after another, as Getty’s merciless approach changes like a chameleon. Plummer also avoids being too dramatic – it’s a reserved style of acting, which suits both Getty’s portrayal and Plummer’s palette.
After a promising beginning, beautifully filmed beginning by Dariusz Wolski and exquisite soundtrack by Daniel Pemberton, “All The Money In The World” suddenly… stops.
The film literally loses all of its energy. The plot checks out – scene by scene – the story’s predictable path. More screen time is “awarded” to Michelle Williams, whose clueless and soulless acting is becomes even more dreadful once Mark Wahlberg arrives on screen. The duo is a chore to observe – they lack any kind of chemistry. Plummer’s prominent moments are the only parts, when you actually want to follow the plot.
Equally bad is the way Scott handles the nuances in the plot. For example, the story tries to deepen the peculiar bond growing between Paul and one of the Italian captors Cinquenta (surprisingly fresh Romain Duris). The latter wears a human face to his deeds, but the plot flattens Duris’ efforts. This relationship could be an interesting counterpoint to the dull negotiation happening between the desperate mother and a greedy billionaire. It could, because the plot avoids going too deep.
Therefore, the more time passes by, the less we care about this whole kidnapping. It turns into a tragedy that – even though should be terrifying – becomes as tedious as watching a sitting of a Parliament. Getty stands firmly at his point of view, Michelle William’s character remains ill-inspired and not really convincing, whilst Wahlberg stands with hands in his pockets, wondering what the hell is he doing on this set.
It is even more irritating once you review each layer of the whole film. Daniel Pemberton’s soundtrack bedazzled me by its richness. There’s classical music in there, inspirations drawn from Bach and an incredibly intense peak in the “money drop” scene. Then, there is Dariusz Wolski’s notable work. The cinematographer jumps from lavish interiors of Getty’s mansion to the scorching hot rural areas of Calabria. In doing so, Wolski’s work remains always consistent.
“All The Money In The World” is an ultimate failure, because it had potential to be a gruesome thriller. This film could have grasped the blinding process of becoming rich, of how morality never sleeps in the same bed with money. Instead, it becomes a ping-me-back game, a rough and tumble that is never really interesting for the viewer.
The best description of “All The Money In The World” is probably the statement at the very end – “Some parts of the film has been intentionally dramatized”. If that’s the dramatized version, I would definitely spare myself from the real real version of the events.
All The Money In The World (2017)
Dir. Ridley Scott
Cast: Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams and MARKY MARK EVERYBODY
Hate Grade: 4.5/10