FRIDAY NIGHT/MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: Last night, I saw “All the Money in the World,” which stars Michelle Williams (Dawson’s Creek [TV series], Manchester by the Sea), Christopher Plummer (9, Beginners), Mark Wahlberg (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Daddy’s Home), Romain Duris (The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Heartbreaker), and Charlie Plummer (Lean on Pete, King Jack). It was directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator) while the screenplay was written by David Scarpa (The Day the Earth Stood Still , The Last Castle). Based on a true story, this film takes place in 1973 Rome, where the grandson of the richest man in the world, J.P. Getty (Christopher Plummer), is kidnapped for a ransom of seventeen million dollars. When Getty shockingly refuses to pay for his return, it is up to his former daughter-in-law Gail Harris (Williams) to get him back by any other means.
Ridley Scott is making his directorial rounds again for the second time this year with “All the Money in the World.” Starring Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, and the newly assigned Christopher Plummer, “All the Money” has been making quite a name for itself considering the politics surrounding it and the scandalous acts of Kevin Spacey, the actor who was initially supposed to play the crotchety Mr. Getty before being removed in the weeks leading up to its release date. It surprises me how a large-scale team such as this can reshoot scenes with a different actor who fills such a vital role in such little time; I didn’t think that this film could possibly hit as hard as it probably did prior, regardless of how I felt about the trailers leading up to it. However, I was proved wrong, as Scott and co. seemingly crafted a feature that was entertaining and well-balanced. The gripping true story of J.P. Getty’s grandson being held for ransom sprawled out onto the page in a rather respectable fashion, as the performances were solid, the cinematography was on-point, and the dialogue was interesting. While it wasn’t Scott’s best, I would say it held up to his standards and bested the disappointment he gifted us earlier this year, “Alien: Covenant.” The acting was pretty good, with some stand-out performances. Michelle Williams and Christopher Plummer were the best, but what I respect most is how Plummer was able to come in last second and steal his scenes. I wouldn’t consider it the best performance of all time, but he did a great job nonetheless. Williams had better luck in this feature than she did in “Manchester by the Sea.” With more screen time, I was able to judge her performance better, and I will say that she should get more work. She’s wickedly talented and I hope to see her in future productions. Mark Wahlberg did all right too, but he essentially played a subdued version of his typical approach, without the humor. It’s not like you could blame him either; his role didn’t have much meat to begin with. Moving on to the cinematography, we were obviously gifted some amazing picture work. Scott doesn’t disappoint in that category, and his film looked beautiful. I also loved the locations and time setting for this, as I do with any broad-scale production. The score that went along with this was elegant, harkening back to other Scott-like works while trying new things out. It’s not immensely noticeable in the movie, but Daniel Pembleton’s score is good regardless of the fact. When it comes to the story, I wouldn’t say there are many flaws outside of overall engagement. This is a well-made feature, capable of becoming great if it took the time to pull us in further with the dialogue. I stated before that the dialogue was interesting, however I meant that in certain moments. Overall, it’s written well, but it doesn’t blow me away. There were only a few times where I felt captivated, primarily towards the third act. I think this comes with how raised the stakes are. All of the characters in this trudge along in their lives, even with the kidnapping of Paul. Though his situation is terrible, the tension is supposed to be found in the dialogue shared amongst characters. The driving force in this is the tug-and-pull between Gail and J.P. Getty; Getty won’t give up his money, and Gail is trying to find ways to save her son. In its two-hour and twelve-minute span, we see this conflict, but it’s very subdued. This is due to the fact that Paul is in no serious state until the final act of the film. None of the kidnappers do anything besides hold him hostage, awaiting until their ransom is paid for. All the while, we see if Gail can obtain the funds, but always to no avail. It’s this boring game of cat-and-mouse that has hardly any incentives injected into it besides the great cinematic aesthetics and performances. I expected it to be this way, though; the trailers didn’t entice me too much, but I will say it was better than I thought it would be. While it isn’t heavily captivating, it is enjoyable. The characters may be subdued and walking sluggishly throughout this fair, but I won’t say the pacing was slow. For some reason, I was content and liked seeing how it all would play out. I chalk it up to the filmmaking skills of Scott, but I will say that the movie as a whole could’ve done better to blow me away. There wasn’t much that was memorable outside of the reshoots, which is a shame. It is a respectable endeavor, as I mentioned before, but it needed to be explosive and unforgiving, doing so only in a few sequences. It’s in these moments that Scott shines, and I think “All the Money in the World” could’ve benefitted from that with some juicier script content. Overall, the feature is well-made and better than I expected; if it were more lively and packed a punch, it could’ve been a real Oscar contender. FINAL SCORE: 81%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: