All the Money in the World is a movie that was fighting seemingly impossible odds in order to find its way to theaters this holiday season. So how did it fare against those odds? Unbelievably well. Ridley Scott has asserted himself as a true master, with the help of the great Christopher Plummer, to bring us one of the year’s finest movies. Never doubt what two brilliant men in their 80s can accomplish.
The movie chronicles the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and the desperate attempt by his loving mother Gail (Michelle Williams) to convince his billionaire grandfather (Christopher Plummer), John Paul Getty, the richest man to ever walk the planet at that time, to pay the ransom. When he refuses, Gail attempts to convince him as her son’s captors become increasingly violent and impatient. With her son’s life at stake, Gail and Mr. Getty’s advisor Chase (Mark Wahlberg) become unlikely allies in the race against time that tries to find where the balance between love and money lives.
2017 has been a year that Hollywood will always remember, perhaps not for the movies that came out, but for the harassment and misconduct scandals that have rocked the industry. Kevin Spacey, who originally starred as J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World, was one such member of the former Hollywood elite who has been accused by many of sexual misconduct. At that point, it seemed this movie was doomed. Instead of allowing that to happen, director Ridley Scott did something that’s never been done before. He recast Christopher Plummer in the role, reassembled his cast and crew and reshot a massive chunk of the movie in mere days and managed to get the movie ready in time, only delaying its release by three days. This all happened within a span of six weeks. And the movie he made is amazing. If this isn’t the ultimate middle finger to the situation Hollywood finds itself in right now, I don’t know what is.
Thomas E. Rothman, Sony’s movie chief, was recently quoted as saying the tale of putting this movie together became about “two octogenarians kicking absolute ass.” I couldn’t possibly have said it better myself after having seen All the Money in the World. This is a case of brilliance being executed with precision both in front of and behind the camera. Ridley Scott at 80 has the experience of a man his age, but the audacity and balls of a man a quarter of it. As for Christopher Plummer? 88 years on this Earth and some 200 or more acting credits led him to this glorious moment. His moment. His time to shine. Give the man his Oscar, please. It’s clear now it belonged to him even when Kevin Spacey’s name was still on the poster.
Christopher Plummer will and should be remembered as the on screen hero of this movie. That said, the rest of the cast is truly outstanding and, since the elder Getty is not on screen for the entirety of the movie, that is crucially important. However, this really is a showcase of Ridley Scott’s talents as a director. All the Money in the World shows his willingness to step up to the plate and swing incredibly hard at every ball that comes his way. Even when he misses, he misses with a huge swing. But All the Money in the World was him connecting with the ball in the biggest possible way and truly cements him as one of the all time greats. He deserves his place on the mount Rushmore of excellent directors. He’s earned it in 2017 and, age be damned, he’s not stopping now.
Whether or not you know the story of the Getty kidnapping, All the Money in the World tells a truly fascinating story, brilliantly executed that winds up being wholly entertaining and a massive showcase of heavy-hitting talent. Not only that, but the story of what went into this movie is equally fascinating and, even knowing a bit, makes this movie even better when watching it. Because of the unprecedented efforts of some talented people, and Sony’s willingness to pull this crazy plan off, this movie will no longer have a question mark associated with it. Ridley Scott made sure this movie can be enjoyed for the excellent piece of cinema it is for years to come.