"meticulously put together piece of modern art, and Ridley Scott being the pro that he is has pre-empted how each scene will roll. A must see"
All The Money In The World was inspired by true events, with some scenes, characters and dialogue being fictional. Based on the book by John Pearson, the story centres around the real-life kidnapping of Getty’s grandson Paul. Screenwriter David Scarpa uses its structure in a jewel-to-crown type way, a prism, you might say, to help unveil the constraints of wealth.
Never has there been a more financial inequality in the world than there is today, and never has there been so many billionaires, whose pockets increase every second.
In 1973 there was one billionaire, JP Getty who today could serve as a blueprint of tax evasion; JP Getty did the unimaginable, exporting oil from the Middle East, with the invention of a super-tanker. Why, throughout his life it was as if he extracted everything of worth from the land, whether it be a natural material or an artefact.
The action of the film flits between Getty’s English mansion, mirroring a La Dolce Vita-esque Rome, and the Calabrian countryside, where Paul, his grandson is being held captive. Gail, Paul’s mother is played by the very talented Michelle Williams, who calls on the services of former CIA agent Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg).
Despite having a fortune of a billion dollars, Getty refuses to pay the kidnappers fee, everyone is seemingly shocked, however, it could be his way of sending out a message to the kidnappers, who today may well represent terrorists.
Gail, notably, is the only character to remain unchanged by Getty’s fortune; and could be looked on as ‘a forward thinking feminist.’ The film acknowledges what it is like to live in a male dominated world, at the same time Gail puts up a fight - to be taken seriously but often having her opinions overlooked, and in some instances disregarded altogether. Williams is a rare breed of actress - multi-layered, multi-faceted, whose versatility is ever extendable.
Ridley assigns a brush stroke to each of his characters. All The Money In The World occurs in the early 1970s, and spans across several generations, as well as social castes. Costume designer Janty Yate helps define this, with her use of a colour palette, which is largely made up of monochromatic grays, blacks, blues and whites.
Yate says of Ridley “[He] brings so much vision to the table and is so painterly.”
Getty loved things as they don’t change. Also, they hold an element of purity, something he was never been able to find in any human.
Getty is so far removed from the real world, when it is money that controls his every move. The strongest message the film carries is how the decisions we make in life are often based on the amount of money we have. Getty at the time was THE richest man in the world, and yet he was a hostage to his own fortune.
All The Money In The World will likely go down in history as the film, which Kevin Spacey was once a part of, and then was not. Christopher Plummer, whom Ridley Scott had been meaning to cast as Getty from the beginning, took up pole position.
Plummer gives a fascinating portrait of JP Getty, and in the final cut there isn’t the remotest sign of Kevin Spacey ever having been in it, the film having been so seamlessly stitched back together. Getty’s old age is a key component, and so I think it makes a lot more sense to have an 88 year old Plummer in the lead role, instead of a prosthetic-heavy Kevin Spacey!
Yes, Plummer plays Getty with a lackadaisical psychopathy you would assume had been perfected over a course of months. I would definitely put him on a par with Anthony Hopkins and Richard Burton, that is to say someone who just ‘turns up and reads the lines.’
Plummer recounts getting the role of J.P. Getty “I was thrilled when Ridley called me to do it – I had always wanted to work with him and this is such a fascinating subject, what an extraordinary character to play it is so well-written that I completely jumped at it.”
Ahead of Ridley’s decision to re-shoot the scenes Spacey was in, Sony Pictures wrote “A film is not the work of one person. There are over 800 other actors, writers, artists, craftspeople and crew who worked tirelessly and ethically on this film, some for years, including one of cinema’s master directors. It would be a gross injustice to punish all of them for the wrongdoings of one supporting actor in the film.”
All The Money In The World is a meticulously put together piece of modern art, and Ridley Scott being the pro that he is has pre-empted how each scene will roll. A must see!