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All The Money In The World - DVD Review

All The Money In The World

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

RIDLEY Scott pulled off something of a mission impossible when he managed to bring his Getty-kidnapping thriller All The Money In The World to the big screen earlier this year, on time and despite the fact that he had to replace one of his principal cast members at the last minute.

But the scramble to re-cast and re-shoot proves more than worth it, as the veteran director [now 80, no less], has delivered yet another terrific movie to add to a CV already littered with them.

The replacement in question saw Christopher Plummer step in for Kevin Spacey, who was fired from the film in the wake of the allegations made against him as part of the #MeToo campaign.

Plummer plays John Paul Getty, the cantankerous old businessman and multi-billionaire who, in 1973, famously refused to pay the kidnap ransom demanded after his 16-year-old grandson, John Paul Getty III, was snatched by members of the Calabrian mob from the streets of Rome.

It’s a masterful performance: one recognised with awards nominations at both the Golden Globes and Oscars. But one that’s fully deserved. Plummer strikes a near-perfect balance between sly charisma and malice. He is a fascinating figure to try to understand, let alone like.

Steadfast in his refusal to negotiate with the Mob, he orchestrates the ensuing battle of wits between himself, Getty Jr’s captors and with the kid’s own mother, Gail (Michelle Williams), as he would any other business deal: the aim of which is to come out on top. He is a captivating, mischievous, cold-hearted presence, trading as much on Plummer’s own history of on-screen charisma as he does the chance to add some shading.

Scott, too, deserves credit for knowing where the film’s strength really lies, thereby allowing Plummer the space to shine, even in a supporting role. The film is at its very best whenever he is around.

But it’s also gripping throughout, given how Scott mixes business intrigue and character development with the tension and action required from a kidnapping story of this sort. The director knows how to raise the stakes, gradually piling on the tension and building to some nicely orchestrated set pieces: the most grisly of which involves the notorious severing of the Getty Jr ear. It’s conveyed in unflinching detail.

Of the remaining cast, Williams is typically towering as Gail, effortlessly conveying the turmoil of a mother who finds herself powerless amid the business dealings; Mark Wahlberg is solid as Getty’s CIA-trained bodyguard and hostage negotiator, and Romain Duris is particularly good value as Cinquanta, the kidnapper who begins to develop protective feelings for his young charge.

If there’s a flaw, it’s that some liberties have been taken with the facts for dramatic purposes, while not every character gets the time he or she fully deserves (with Getty Jr curiously under-served, in particular).

But as both a gripping thriller and a fascinating parable about money, greed and celebrity, All The Money In The World offers terrific value, buoyed by something of a Plummer acting masterclass.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 135mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: May 14, 2018