All the Money in the World Screen 10 articles

All the Money in the World

2017

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  • It's by and large a conspicuously manufactured thriller that moves between manipulative psych-outs. Officials find a burned body that might be that of Getty's teenage grandson—but it's not! Investigators figure out where Paul is being held—but he's not there anymore! And so on for more than two hours.

  • Both Scott brothers were inconsistent, and both made films in formats and genres that I basically have no interest in. But Ridley’s failures, of which there are many, are more artless than Tony’s. I don’t think Tony would have many anything quite as hackish as All the Money in the World, the second 2017 release by Ridley, which is fascinating inasmuch as it is a project without a slither of personality, a programmatic work of pure plot.

  • So why this story, why now? Scott does seem to be getting at something about the loneliness and paralysis of wealth. Over the course of the film, we go from seeing the elder Getty as a figure of great power to one of no power at all, and that is perhaps the most fascinating part of the movie — aided immeasurably, again, by Plummer’s lovely performance. But that arc doesn’t feel vitally connected to the predictable, uninspiring genre beats of the kidnapping case.

  • The cast seems over all unguided, left to their own devices, as if each were acting alone in a booth, and the drama is similarly detached and hermetic. Though there’s a hint of Italian politics, a touch of family crisis, and a snippet of the elder Getty’s empire-building stuck onto the plot, there’s no symbolic resonance or psychological insight to add to the curious historical byway or the painful private ordeal.

  • In conventional terms, the film treats no single theme with extraordinary depth. But it splendidly demonstrates how disparate issues and events—including a Minneapolis-born magnate’s cunning exploitation of Middle Eastern oil fields—impinge on the fate of one wayward lad. It’s like kinetic existential mapmaking.

  • Christopher Plummer . . . gives such a fine performance as the elder Getty that you simply wish he’d been cast in the first place, thus leaving Spacey and his bad behavior completely out of the equation. But no matter what, Scott is a true pro. If you didn’t know Spacey had ever appeared in All the Money in the World, you’d never guess it from the almost magically seamless construction Scott pulls off here.

  • Scott is relatively restrained here, letting his stars carry the day and declining to unleash the full force of his directorial power except in a handful of intricate setpieces. . . . A certain monotony sets in during the middle section, which replays too many similar beats too close together—if the script were looking to combine or cut incidents, this would’ve been the place to do it—but on the whole this is a more-than-solid effort.

  • Like Blade Runner, American Gangster, and The Counselor, All the Money in the World isn’t really a thriller in the generic sense as a series of compulsive set-pieces. It’s more a heightened dramatic study in familial perversity and obstinacy of character as well as a holistic attempt to encompass the workings of peculiar niche of society, and the methods of various forms of capitalism.

  • Williams plays Gail as a woman under enormous, sustained stress, yet possessed of a maternal core so strong that no hurdle, especially those thrown up by Getty, can stop her efforts to rescue her son. Money can't buy her, and though there's no telling if Gail's role in the rescue's serpentine twists really happened this way, it's Williams' tightly wound, calculating performance that juices the movie's thrill ride of a last hour, and turns it into a revelation.

  • Mr. Scott conjures up entire worlds and sensibilities with visual precision, adding detail even when going for sweep. Each new scene adds another layer of meaning, thickening the slow-building sense of dread. . . . Mr. Plummer can be an aloof, fairly cool screen presence and he chills Getty Sr. with cruel glints, funereal insinuation and a controlled, withholding physicality.

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