Let us set aside Ridley Scott’s ridiculous comments about Blade Runner 2049, Star Wars, his handling of Kevin Spacey, and the fact that Fox has dumped his Alien: Covenant sequel and focus on his latest picture, All the Money in the World. The film is “based on a true story” and stars a wonderful Michelle Williams, an unenthusiastic and flatlined Mark Wahlberg, and Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty who is absolutely outstanding in a mediocre and at times, boring, picture.
From the premise and the trailers, the film seemed to have threads of The Counselor in it; a dark picture that took the audience on a journey into the heart of darkness with Christopher Plummer as the crusty old bastard who will not pay the ransom of his grandson’s kidnapping. This sounds great, and it sounds like the kind of transgressive material that Scott has trekked in prior, but the end result is this sort of boring film that really doesn’t go anywhere with characters who aren’t just unlikeable, but so bland there isn’t much worth liking or not like about them.
There are some fine elements about the film. The score by Daniel Pemberton is rather good, as are the set pieces in the period of the 1970s. The cinematography is as expected from Dariusz Wolski, yet there is this sort of laziness that lurks throughout the film. In the opening scene Charlie Plummer, who plays the kidnapped grandson, is walking the streets of Rome smoking a cigarette. Except he’s not smoking a cigarette. It’s blatantly apparent that he’s not inhaling much of anything, yet the overbearing roasting sound keeps forcing us to believe something that isn’t happening on screen. If Charlie Plummer doesn’t want or know how to inhale smoke, then why not reshoot the scene without him smoking.
Casting Michael Fassbender or Brad Pitt would have been a gigantic upgrade over Mark Wahlberg. It’s not that Wahlberg does a poor job, he’s just become so prolific in his ‘saving the day roles’ as of late, and he doesn’t quite fit the class or sophistication of the former CIA super spy who Plummer sends in to rescue his grandson. On the other hand, Michelle Williams is solid as always as the exiled ex-daughter in law of Plummer who is left struggling to find a way or getting her son home.
From the original trailer of the film, the hook was Kevin Spacey in heavy prosthetics playing J. Paul Getty. After the unpleasantness and the quick reshooting and injection of Plummer, the hook of the film still remains J. Paul Getty. As marvelous as Christopher Plummer is, he can’t save a tired film with a tired “true story” and uninspired performances.
Review by Frank Mengarelli