J. Paul Getty had a fortune. Everyone else paid the price.
It was a knuckle-biting race against time worthy of a movie itself. With only seven weeks to go before the December 2017 release of the true-story kidnapping thriller All the Money in the World, the film’s star Kevin Spacey was hit by a wave of sexual abuse allegations.
Director Ridley Scott didn’t hesitate. Fearing that the breaking scandal would fatally damage his movie, he quickly decided to replace Spacey. But rather than delay the release, he elected to reshoot key portions of the film right away – with 88-year-old Christopher Plummer stepping in for the scandal-tainted Spacey to play billionaire oil tycoon J Paul Getty.
Legendary for his astonishing wealth, and for his astonishing miserliness, Getty gained even more notoriety when the Calabrian Mafia snatched his grandson, John Paul Getty III, in 1973. Famously, Getty refused to pay the $17million ransom.
This is the episode on which Scott’s film revolves. (As does the BBC drama Trust.) And it is gripping stuff all the way as the kidnap victim (Charlie Plummer), languishes in squalid captivity in Calabria while his anguished mother Abigail (Michelle Williams, terrific) and long-term Getty trouble-shooter Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) desperately strive to secure his release. They are up against two sets of implacable adversaries: the kidnappers and the victim’s stingy grandfather. And it is touch and go which of them will prove the most obdurate.
As we build to the story’s climax, Scott racks up the tension, while his cast rise to the occasion. Plummer is superb, his performance earning him his third Academy Award nomination (making him the oldest-ever Oscar nominee). Indeed, he’s so good you can’t imagine anyone else in the part.
Certificate 15. Runtime 133 mins. Director Ridley Scott
All the Money in the World available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Sony Pictures.