All The Money has all the drama

BY RYAN MACKETT


All The Money in The World, the latest film from Ridley Scott, tells the fascinating true story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, heir to the Getty Oil Company. While based on a true story, at the end of the film a title card reminds audiences that certain characters and circumstances depicted in the film were fictionalized for dramatic effect, which is commonplace for films that are inspired by actual events.

While I have a passing familiarity with the actual events, I can’t comment on how accurate the story is to the real-life ordeal. However, by explicitly stating that the film was dramatized I think the filmmakers are making it perfectly clear that the film wasn’t intended as a documentary and should be viewed as a dramatic entertainment rather than a history lesson.

The film plays as part family drama and part crime thriller. However, for all of the incredible drama that unfolds on screen, the drama that occurred behind the scenes is equally fascinating. The film was completed and ready to be released when, just over a month before its anticipated launch, the lead actor was fired from the production. All of his scenes were cut from the film and reshot over just a few days.

Originally, the role of J. Paul Getty was portrayed by Kevin Spacey. Following allegations of sexual assault levelled at Spacey by actor Anthony Rapp, he was removed entirely from the movie.Ê

Make no mistake, the decision to fire Spacey was undoubtedly a desperate public relations damage-control move. The filmmakers and studio knew they had a special film on their hands, and did not want Spacey and the negative press surrounding him to taint their film. That being said, I commend Scott and the studio for making a bold statement by firing Spacey.

Spacey was replaced by the great Canadian actor Christopher Plumber, who was terrific in the role. The incredible Michelle Williams plays Gail Harris, the mother of Paul (Charlie Plummer), who desperately tries to negotiate a deal with both the kidnappers and her former father-in-law in an attempt to rescue her son.

Mark Wahlberg also stars as Fletcher Chase, an employee of Getty’s tasked with assisting Gail. Wahlberg is an interesting actor in that he isn’t necessarily a great actor, but when he works with the right director, he can perform remarkably.

The film was exquisitely shot, favouring sepia tones and desaturated colour palettes. Scott has really refined his visual style in recent years. The look of the film reflected the subject matter and drama of the story perfectly.Ê

It will be interesting to see if All The Money in The World is able to take home any of the three Golden Globes it’s nominated for (best supporting actor, Christopher Plummer; best actress, Michelle Williams; best director, Ridley Scott). Highly recommended.

Ryan Mackett is an artist and film enthusiast who resides in Thunder Bay. Email questions or comments to him at tbaymovieguy@gmail.com.

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