Ridley Scott’s thriller about J. Paul Getty and his refusal to comply with the demands of kidnappers who took his grandson, John Paul Getty III, made major headlines last year after Scott made the decision to reshoot large portions of the film that had Kevin Spacey playing Getty. It was a decision that has to be applauded following the multiple sexual assault allegations against Spacey, and Scott acted fast to bring in Christopher Plummer in to the role.
However there’s no question that it is a move that has hurt the quality of the film. That is not to say that Plummer is bad in the film, but he often feels a little too warm and accessible, when the film’s portrayal of him is someone who wouldn’t give up anything for anyone one else, exemplified by the fact that he wouldn’t pay to have his own grandson released. Plummer has a good presence, and does a fine job, but it just doesn’t feel quite right, especially when Spacey’s original performance is said to have been far colder and uncaring.
Michelle Williams however is, as always, superb. It is her who is really carrying All The Money In The World, as Gail Harris, the mother of the kidnapped Getty III. Her character is someone who is trying to keep it all together despite losing her son, but you can see everything just below the scene in those scenes where she is composed. And when she does let the emotions out Williams absolutely breaks your heart.
The problem is that nothing else about the film really excites, meaning that the overall product just ends up falling flat. When you consider that the film is described as a thriller there is certainly nothing thrilling about it. David Scarpa’s script meanders along at a fair slow pace, and Scott’s direction doesn’t elevate it at all. It doesn’t help that this is an incredibly well known story meaning that most people already know the outcome, but more could have been done to keep it interesting.
If All The Money In The World hadn’t made headlines for Scott’s move in replacing Spacey with Plummer I seriously doubt that the film would have made much of a splash at all. It’s not a bad film, but rather a distinctly average one that completely fails to live up to it’s billing as a thriller.