Movie Review: All The Money In The World

Even when he “phones it in,” Ridley Scott, a film director at the height of his powers, brings compelling dimension and scope to his movies. His latest, All the Money in the World (B-) chronicles the kidnapping, ransom and attempted rescue of the heir to the Getty family, notorious for wealth generated through oil and a legacy from the accumulation of exquisite paintings and antiquities. An exploration of the art of a deal and the heart of a family should lend this crime thriller even more gravitas, but it’s largely a straightforward procedural. The stakes should also feel higher throughout the film, but the story and script give short shrift to its collection of characters. Michelle Williams as mother of a kidnapped teen, Christopher Plummer as the oil magnate himself, Mark Wahlberg as his negotiator and deal maker and Charlie Plummer (no real-life relation to his co-star!) as the teen in turmoil all turn in serviceable performances but far from their collective best. The action is occasionally gripping, and it’s a story that hasn’t been told. But this falls in Scott’s category of solid thrillers with vivid period detail but little amazing to grab you (his American Gangster falls squarely in this breed of his films). It’s notable as both a meditation on the price of wealth and a cinematic master class in how to erase and re-cast an actor’s central performance just weeks before a film’s release (bye bye, Kevin Spacey in the now Christopher Plummer role). All the talent in the world doesn’t always add up to a masterpiece.

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