Hostages of Fortune

All the Money in the World

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, Christopher Plummer, Timothy Hutton, Charlie Plummer, Romain Duris, Andrew Buchan

Gladiator and Blade Runner director Ridley Scott returns to the big screen with a true life Italian kidnap drama All the Money in the World starring Oscar winner Christopher Plummer (Beginners) as oil billionaire J. Paul Getty whose 16 year old grandson J. Paul Getty III expertly played with a nuanced vulnerability by Charlie Plummer, is kidnapped in Rome in the summer of 1973, based on actual events.

Paul Getty III known as Paul whose mother Gail Getty superbly played by Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea, My Week with Marilyn) who should have received another Oscar nomination for her role in this film, is caught in a precarious situation when she cannot physically pay the $17 million ransom demanded by the thuggish kidnappers.

Gail Getty desperately pleads with her immensely wealthy father-in-law who categorically refuses to pay the ransom for the reasons that if he had to pay $17 million for every grandchild of his that got kidnapped, it would dent his already vast fortune. Ruthless, selfish and thoroughly frugal, J. Paul Getty made his vast fortune through drilling for oil in Saudi Arabia in the late 1940’s.

Similar to his Oscar nominated performance as Tolstoy in The Last Station, Christopher Plummer adds gravitas and respectability to the role of Oil Tycoon J. Paul Getty who surrounded himself with priceless antiquities and an expensive art collection worth millions on his massive Getty’s estate in England, but did not have the compassion to pay for his grandson’s release which would have secured his safe return from a truly nefarious mafia style gang of kidnappers in Calabria, in Southern Italy.

Gail Getty enlists the help of security broker Fletcher Chace played by Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg (The Departed) as they both along with the Italian police try to expedite the safe return of Paul Getty. What follows is a tense kidnap drama in the style of Daniel Alfredson’s Kidnapping Mr Heinken.

With cinematic panache, director Ridley Scott makes full use of his Italian locations with extensive shots of Rome and its ancient Ruins along with the frenetic buzz of the Italian capital augmented by the ever present paparazzi as they hound the Getty family in what was to become one of the most sensational kidnap dramas of the 1970’s.

Gail Getty’s ex-husband, J. Paul Getty II played by Andrew Buchan, goes from heading up his father’s European oil empire to becoming a heroin addict in Morocco and is virtually out of the entire negotiation. The negotiation is a fiercely contested battle of the wills between Gail Getty and her ruthless father-in-law. She is desperate to get her beloved son Paul back in one piece.

Supporting actors include French actor Romain Duris as a sympathetic kidnapper Cinquanta as well as Oscar winner Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People) as the Getty’s financier Oswald Hinge.

Christopher Plummer and Charlie Plummer (no relation) are both brilliant as grandfather and grandson. Michelle Williams is fantastic as a desperate mother caught in this prolific dynasty but who conveys increasing helplessness in not being able to rescue her resourceful teenage son.

All the Money in the World is a captivating, stylish and gritty kidnap drama expertly directed by Ridley Scott and receives a film rating of 8 out of 10.  

 

 

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