Christopher Plummer, stepping in for Kevin Spacey, gives Ridley Scott’s thriller its vim
Extreme wealth and savage greed are given a name and a face in “All the Money in the World,” director Ridley Scott’s riveting thriller about oil tycoon J. Paul Getty and his massive fortune.
The film is already notorious for its ties to the tsunami of sexual misconduct allegations that have rocked Hollywood. After multiple people came forward to accuse Kevin Spacey, Spacey’s performance as Getty was removed from the film and his scenes were re-shot at the eleventh hour using Christopher Plummer in the role.
Plummer, coming in as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning, is invaluable in the film. His Getty is an inscrutable tightwad, unwilling to part with any piece of his finances even after his beloved grandson is swooped up on the streets of Rome and held by kidnappers for $17 million in ransom. Getty will gladly open up his purse for an investment in fine art, but people aren’t worth his money. “Everything has a price,” Getty says. “The great struggle in life is coming to grips with what that price is.”
Michelle Williams plays Gail Harris, ex-wife of Getty’s son, who’s trying to get Getty to pay the ransom before it’s too late. Mark Wahlberg is Getty’s assistant Fletcher Chase, an ex-spy skilled in the art of negotiation who acts on Getty’s behalf and ultimately sees through his boss’ pettiness.
The time-hopping, globe-trotting story is well-paced and well-acted, and timely in its portrait of greed and the way it can choke one’s soul. How Spacey played the role may never be known, but Plummer gives this film its icy cold heart.
‘All the Money in the World’
Rated R for language, some violence, disturbing images and brief drug content