The Movie Waffler New to Prime Video - ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD | The Movie Waffler


all the money in the world review
Thriller based on the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Starring: Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, Christopher Plummer, Charlie Plummer, Stacy Martin, Timothy Hutton, Romain Duris


On July 10th, 1973, John Paul Getty III, the 16-year-old grandson of billionaire J Paul Getty, was abducted from a Roman Piazza. Assuming his grandfather - at that point not only the richest man in the world, but the richest man that ever lived - would pay without blinking, the boy's kidnappers set a ransom of $17 million. You don't get to be the wealthiest man in human history without keeping a tight hold on your purse strings however, and thanks to Getty's continued refusal to pay, the kidnapping drama would drag on for months.

Using John Pearson's 1995 book 'Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty' as a base, Ridley Scott has fashioned the Getty kidnapping into an old school thriller, one which resembles some lost '70s movie, full of men with sideburns arguing in dimly lit rooms. Personally, I can't get enough of this stuff.

All the Money in the World review

Played by Charlie Plummer (excellent in the recent indie drama King Jack), John Paul Getty III is snatched by a gang of greaseballs who bear more than a passing resemblance to the villains of Mario Bava's sweaty 1974 abduction thriller Rabid Dogs, all stubble and neckerchiefs. Left in charge of the boy is Cinquanta (French star Romain Duris, convincingly Italian here), the movie's most interesting character, one who finds his thirst for wealth battling his conscience throughout.

What the kidnappers don't realise is that Getty III is now estranged from his grandfather (Christopher Plummer - no relation), who practically disowned his grandson when his daughter in law, Gail Harris (Michelle Williams), took custody of him following her divorce to Getty's drug-addled son. With no money of her own, Harris is forced to beg her estranged father-in-law to come to his grandson's aid. Rather than paying up (Getty is such a skinflint he installed a payphone for guests at his English country mansion), Getty assigns his advisor, former CIA agent Fletcher Case (Mark Wahlberg), to track down the kidnappers.

All the Money in the World review

Scott's film and David Scarpa's screenplay embellish the real life story with a wealth of fabricated drama, but the film never strays into the realms of Hollywood fantasy. It's Scott's most grounded work in quite some time, almost resembling a HBO drama were it not for the Fincher-esque visual sheen the director and his cinematographer Dariusz Wolski lend the film.

Taking a backseat to the drama is what Scott does best, but he's rarely been so generous in letting his cast take centre stage. His ensemble here is certainly a mixed bunch, boasting arguably the best American actress of her generation in Williams (captivating despite an unconvincing accent); a screen and stage legend who could make the text of a universal remote control manual sound Shakespearian in Plummer; a former underwear model with a checkered acting resume in Wahlberg; one of European cinema's most charismatic stars in Duris; and a host of talented supporting performers, including the overdue return of Timothy Hutton. All pool their varying talents to make All the Money in the World an engrossing watch.

All the Money in the World review

Most of the conversation around Scott's film has revolved around the controversial eleventh hour recasting of Plummer in the role of Getty, replacing Kevin Spacey when the studio feared the latter's newly tarnished off screen persona may turn away cinemagoers. Who can say what Spacey might have brought to the role, but Plummer embodies Getty so effortlessly that it's impossible to imagine anyone else in the part. With the 88-year-old Plummer appearing in roughly a quarter of the film's 132 minutes, the fact that the 80-year-old Scott was able to shoot all his scenes in nine days, mere weeks before the film's release, is an achievement Roger Corman would be proud of. All the Money in the World is a win for octogenarian filmmaking.

All the Money in the World is on Prime Video UK now.