All The Money In The World (NC16)
Starring Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, Christopher Plummer
Directed By Ridley Scott
All the Money in the World is an absorbing true-crime drama about the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, the 16-year-old grandson of oil magnate J Paul Getty. What is so twisted about this case is that the captors weren’t the only villains, Grandpa Getty was one as well — he refused to pay the US$17 million ransom. Granted, it was a lot of money but for Getty, it was petty cash for then the richest man in the world, said to be worth US$2 billion.
But as it turns out, he was also the stingiest man on the planet. As played by the wonderful Christopher Plummer (who replaced the sex scandal-tainted original star Kevin Spacey in last-minute reshoots), Getty is Ebenezer Scrooge personified… times 10. (Interestingly, Plummer played the holiday-hating curmudgeon recently in the Charles Dickens biopic, The Man Who Invented Christmas.)
The abduction part of the story isn’t nearly as compelling as the behind-the-scenes transactions where the victim’s mother (Michelle Williams, never been better) and a CIA operative-turned-Getty fixer (Mark Wahlberg) try to talk some sense — and cents — into the penny-pinching old man who would rather spend a fortune on art pieces and antiques than a dime to save his own kin (unless, of course, it’s tax deductible). For Getty, this wasn’t a hostage negotiation, but a business negotiation. Seriously, how can this guy sleep at night? (***1/2)