All the Money in the World Movie Review
If Kevin Spacey were a better man, he’d have been in a pretty damned good movie. Ridley Scott’s crime drama All the Money in the World is an efficient, entertaining, engrossing thriller of sorts that boasts tantalizing performances by Michelle Williams and Spacey’s last minute replacement Christopher Plummer.
The movie is a dramatized depiction of a story that’s so bonkers it just has to be true: the grandson of the richest man in the world is kidnapped in Italy and the notoriously frugal and stubborn billionaire J. Paul Getty (Plummer) refuses to pay the ransom.
All the Money in the World features surprisingly restrained, but still gorgeous, direction by Scott, whose most recent movies, with exception to the crowd non-pleaser The Counsellor, have largely been of epic scale, to uneven results. The movie looks terrific and just as importantly moves at a steady clip, straddling the line of urgency and indulgence so that he can take advantage of both the story’s kidnapping elements and its colorful characters.
Williams is terrific behind an effective accent that I won’t attempt to describe, and while it’s unlikely she’ll stand out among a competitive pack of actresses, her performance is among the better of the year. The attention will fall primarily on Plummer, not only because of how he came to be in the film - after allegations of sexual misconduct continued to mount against Spacey, Scott and Sony Pictures made the bold decision to save the film by recasting at the last minute, after the film had been completed, to meet the original, awards-friendly December release date - but just how good he is. J. Paul Getty is a satisfyingly nasty villain of sorts, a complex, real-life Ebenezer Scrooge who has an ethical code… but one that revolves completely around financial return. Plummer goes all in as if he’d spent months, not days, preparing for the role.
For those wondering, if you didn’t know the backstory to the movie, you never would have guessed that Plummer wasn’t a part of the original cast.
On the flip side, there’s Mark Wahlberg, who is great as Mark Wahlberg but who stands out like a sore thumb given how immersed his costars are in their performances. He’s fine, but is the one piece that doesn’t quite fit.
All the Money in the World is a twisty, turvy crime drama that satisfyingly adds and removes layers to keep you on your toes and highly entertained throughout. The movie is fun to watch and easily Scott’s best movie in years.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.