ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD — Review by Susan Granger

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Perhaps even more fascinating than this fact-based kidnap drama is how 80 year-old director Ridley Scott replaced scandal-riddled Kevin Spacey with 88 year-old Christopher Plummer as billionaire J. Paul Getty. After re-filming 22 scenes, Scott seamlessly edited old reaction shots with the new footage. Continue reading…

In 1973, bohemian, 16 year-old John ‘Paul’ Getty III (Charlie Plummer) was kidnapped in Rome. His frantic mother, Gail Harris (Michelle Williams), was desperate to deliver the $17 million ransom the kidnappers demanded, but his grandfather declined to pay.

Instead, obstinate Getty summoned an ex-C.I.A. agent, Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg), the family ‘fixer,’ skilled in security and crisis management, to track Paul down.

(A pioneering oil tycoon, rapacious Getty was at that time the richest man in history. He paid no taxes because his global estate was in a charitable trust, allowing him to invest in art work and antiquities, many of which are on display at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.)

Notoriously frugal, he installed a pay phone for visitors at his baronial, 72-room British mansion. Elderly Getty icily claimed that, since he had 14 grandchildren, paying a ransom for Paul would encourage further kidnappings.

Italian crime syndicate operatives, a Calabrian faction of the Red Brigade, an urban terrorist organization, held the troubled teenager hostage in the countryside. At one point, the thugs cut off Paul’s right ear and mailed it to a Rome newspaper, as Cinquanta (Romain Duris) continued the negotiation.

Scripted by David Scarpa, based on John Pearson’s Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty (1995), it’s a tense, infamously true thriller/character study, never delving into sentiment or moral judgment. End credits acknowledge that certain historical scenes were fictionalized for dramatic effect.

FYI: Charlie Plummer is not related to Christopher. Paul Getty’s son, Balthazar, is an actor. And soon, FX will broadcast “Trust,” a mini-series depicting the same case.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “All the Money in the World” is a suspenseful 7, featuring a smoldering, persuasive performance by Christopher Plummer.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.