Released December 25
The saddest detail about the incident that inspired the movie All the Money in the World is that John Paul Getty III never really recovered from the emotional scars left by the events and by the microscopic public scrutiny into which he was born as the grandson of one of the richest men in the world. Or, it might be that the incident itself was simply the manifestation of his life. It’s often assumed that people who are born into wealth are lucky. It’s not necessarily good fortune to have a fortune. Sometimes it takes superhuman strength to be able to maintain one’s integrity, sense of morality and health when born into vast riches or power or celebrity of any kind.
The movie itself is also beautifully made. The beginning scenes are a warm black and white, almost sepia tone. Colors begin to seep into the visuals as the story unfolds. However the colors are always subtle, letting the emotion of each scene provide the tapestry.
Ridley Scott at age 80 is a master director with the energy and eagerness of a 20-something. He has done an extraordinary job directing this film even without considering that the his original “John Paul Getty” had to be replaced, forcing extensive re-shoots a few weeks before the film’s planned Christmas Day release. Scott knew exactly what was necessary to give each scene the most powerful impact. He was able to make the changes flawlessly with Christopher Plummer taking over Kevin Spacey’s character. The film was finished in time for its original release date.
Scott comes from an art background. He attended art school to study graphic design. While there he made his first short film in 1965, and then trained as a TV set designer and director for the BBC. He moved to directing TV ads and then returned to filmmaking. His immersion in the arts is evident in this movie.
Mark Wahlberg is a perfect choice to bring life to the ex FBI agent/ PI who assists in negotiating with the Italian Mafia. On the surface he appears to be a polished executive, yet underneath is the soul of a mercenary who can match wits with the heights society as well as the underbelly of Italian crime. Michelle Williams as “Gail” has the skill to express an endless reservoir of strength underneath the façade of the soft spoken personality that was acceptable for women at the time. Christopher Plummer is wonderful, Charlie Plummer (no relation) is believable as the kidnapped “J Paul Getty III,” and Romain Duris as “Cinquanta” is a standout.
Scott has taken what we do know and embellished it with possibilities to create a fascinating mystery, involving highly unusual people. The details of the real story, those that we know, seem even more outlandish than this simplified version in the film. However, in the end you realize that the underlying human drama as portrayed in the film is true to the real story. No matter how much or how little money or notoriety we have, we are all human at the base of our souls, and we are all capable of making choices and perpetrating acts that can be judged as crazy, irrational, foolish, bizarre and seemingly without thought or judgment. I challenge you to tell me you have not at one time been guilty.
Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. firstname.lastname@example.org. For previously published reviews see https://kwboole.wordpress.com