Whatever your thoughts on Ridley Scott, it’s hard to argue that he’s a subtle filmmaker. Scott’s films tend to bold and brash when it comes to imagery and themes alike, so no big surprise that a movie called All the Money in the World – about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer), grandson of the ridiculously wealthy Jean Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) – turns out to be all about money.
Much like Alien Covenant, Money isn’t an especially gripping thriller. Paul’s kidnapping drags out over weeks and then months, and Scott’s more interested in the interpersonal intricacies unfolding between Paul’s mother (Michelle Williams) and Getty’s bodyguard/right-hand-man (Mark Wahlberg) than guns and torture. (Though each feature prominently).
As a representation of the corrupting influence of money – whether in the hands of mafioso or oil barons – Money is successful if simplistic. Scenes of a small Italian community uniting to confine the young Getty demonstrate how easily complicity can be bought, especially when contrasted against Getty’s relentless prioritisation of profit. The real standout here is undeniably Christopher Plummer, though; you can sense him chafing against the outlines of Spacey’s blustering performance, but ultimately granting an aching humanity to a cruel old man.