Posts Tagged ‘Timothy Hutton’

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.  



A Hauntingly Lavish Thriller…

The Ghost Writer


Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Ewan McGregor, Timothy Hutton, Jim Belushi, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson

Polanski’s dark and almost claustrophobic thriller The Ghost Writer adapted from the novel by Robert Harris author of Enigma and Pompeii is an absolute gem reminiscent of his earlier classics like Bitter Moon, Chinatown and the Oscar winning film The Pianist.

Dark and claustrophobic

Balancing a great script with tight directing and creepy use of  stark isolated locations, Polanski keeps the viewer of the Ghost Writer on the edge of their seat.

Highly versatile and underrated Ewan McGregor is wonderfully human as the title character and Olivia Williams shines as the ousted Prime Minister‘s Adam Lang’s wife Ruth with a witty, dark and altogether complex performance which gives tremendous weight to the concept of behind every powerful man lies an equally powerful woman. Pierce Brosnan takes the part of Adam Lang, the Prime Minister with a combination of his charm, ego and slight menace which brought him acclaim in his recent more memorable films Matador and Remember Me.

What is truly thrilling is Polanski’s homage to Alfred Hitchcock making a political and social thriller without compromising on the story and the intricacies of the characters, whilst retaining the claustrophobic atmosphere of a once powerful leader being forced into a lavish exile. Sounds Familiar? As I returned from watching this stunning thriller, Polanski was released from house arrest in Gstaad, Switzerland which is an absolute relief, as it would be a tragedy to keep a filmmaker of this calibre under confinement.

Polanski’s distinctly European perspective on the collusion of Britain and America in foreign wars in the Middle East is his greatest asset  highlighting how a Prime Minister can fall from grace and become a virtual outcast is brilliant in his brittle and subversive vision of how corrupting power and influence can become.

Visually The Ghost Writer is sleek, dark and elegant whilst reminding the viewer that decisions of great international magnitude are often made in secluded locations like Cape Cod or St Andrews far away from the distant nations which will be affected by those choices. For to give the story, location or plot away would be ludicrous, suffice to say… see The Ghost Writer and relish in a masterful director’s return to form with a cinematic homage to the political thriller crackling with suspense, wit and utterly thought-provoking down to the shattering final sequence.

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March 2018
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