Based on the true story of the kidnapping of oil billionaire J. Paul Getty’s grandson in 1973, All the Money in the World is a mostly effective drama.
After the young man (Charlie Plummer) is kidnapped, his mother (Michelle Williams) is hit with a ransom demand of $17 million. But she has divorced her son’s father and does not have any of the Getty family fortune at her disposal. She contacts Getty (Christopher Plummer), who promptly refuses to pay. But he does offer the assistance of his security consultant (Mark Wahlberg).
The film’s breakdown of the mechanics of kidnapping is compelling. In some ways, it plays like a serious version of Ruthless People, with a despicable rich man refusing to pay a ransom and increasingly frustrated kidnappers offering to cut the price to “only” a few million. The movie received some publicity when it was announced that director Ridley Scott would film reshoots with Christopher Plummer as Getty replacing Kevin Spacey. I don’t believe that replacing Spacey was morally necessary, but it was probably a good move artistically. Plummer delivers a very good performance and the original trailer with a heavily made-up Spacey made it seem like the actor was in full Honey Baked Ham mode.
Overall, it’s nice to see Ridley Scott making movies that aren’t Alien sequels or spinoffs.