All the Money in the World
Runtime 132 minutes
Director/Producer Ridley Scott appeared at my screening in the Clark Gable Theater on the Sony lot to give us a one-minute introduction to this film. Basically what he said was the he met star Christopher Plummer, who plays J. Paul Getty, “three and a half weeks ago” for the first time. The reason this is stunning is that Plummer replaced Kevin Spacey in the role and the film had, to my understanding, been wrapped. So in the space of a little less than a month, Plummer filmed all the scenes in which Getty appeared, and there are a lot of them, and they were all inserted in a film that was already shot and edited. This is nothing short of amazing.
As you must know, this is the story of the kidnapping of Getty’s grandson, 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and the heartbreaking quest of his mother, Gail (Michelle Williams, who gives a sparkling performance) to try to get the money out of Getty to pay the ransom.
This is another of those movies “inspired by true events,” and it seems to me that most of what we see is made up by scriptwriter David Scarpa, based on the book by John Pearson—especially the ending that seems straight out of a Jason Bourne thriller. In fact, it is nonsense.
The movie sanctifies Gail as the person who moved heaven and earth to save her son. From what I can determine, though, his father, John Paul Getty, Jr. (Andrew Buchan) is the one who asked his father for the money. The movie paints him as a bad guy. Who knows what the truth is? But from the “inspired by” language, I’m assuming that not much is close to what happened, although painting Getty as a selfish pig might not be far from the truth.
As to the movie itself, it’s reasonably well done, although too long. I got fidgety as it lumbered through its tale.
Shot in London and Rome, one location stands out. Getty’s Roman home looks like San Simeon. In fact, it was shot in the Villa Wolkonsky, the official residence of the British ambassador to Rome and his Sutton Place London home was shot at Hatfield House.
Spoiler alert. The movie shows Getty dying contemporaneously with the kidnapping’s conclusion. But his death didn’t happen for several years thereafter.
Unfortunately, this is another movie purporting to be historic that has so many deviations from fact that you should just enjoy it as you would the aforementioned Jason Bourne thrillers you see and not take much too seriously.