While ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD may not be the feel-good family movie of the year, it escorts us into the fascinating, albeit not-as-glamourous-as-one-may-think, world of the 1%. It may be appealing to fantasize about having more money than one may know what to do with, but Ridley Scott’s new film demonstrates that being the richest man in the world has its downside. One may imagine it’s all shiny new cars and extravagant vacations, but with great wealth comes endless appeals for handouts and a piece of the wealth. Money may not be the root of all evil, but it certainly attracts a plethora of evil characters fueled by greed. When kidnappers target the richest man in the world’s grandson, we start to witness the complexity of extreme wealth.
The film may lack the high-energy action of TAKEN, yet it provides far more interesting character exploration and shines a light on the problems of being uber-rich. Based on John Pearson’s novel which was based on true events, the fascinating story looks at a fractured family dealing with the kidnapping event which occurred in 1973.
While the film provides plenty of drama, not all the drama occurs in front of the camera. Originally Kevin Spacey held the role of J Paul Getty, a billionaire who seems to value art more than people. Amidst allegations of sexual assault, Spacey was removed from this essential role and replaced with Christopher Plummer who captures the essence of the character. Although I love Plummer’s performance, I can’t help but wonder how the film would have been had it been released with Spacey in the role. (And no, that does not mean I condone any form of sexual assault. I’m just curious to see how the two actors differ in their interpretations of the character’s mannerisms and delivery.)
While the story proves interesting, Michelle Williams elevates the film in ways I cannot adequately explain. Carrying the charm of actresses from days past, she is nothing shy of captivating and remarkable as Gail. The film is nearly flawless, with my only real gripe revolving around one particular casting decision: Mark Wahlberg.
Mark Wahlberg has no business being Fletcher Chase in this film. While I understand Hollywood’s need to cast a box-office draw, it’s the worst casting decision of 2017. I found his delivery of almost every line to be cringe-worthy. To be clear, I have nothing against Mark Wahlberg. I enjoy most of his performances, but this one just didn’t work. The character was supposed to be an ex-CIA, expert negotiator who could make miracles happen through his verbal abilities. Whenever Wahlberg delivers the lines, he just doesn’t come across like someone who could convince anyone of anything. I wouldn’t buy shoes from the guy. Sorry Mark, you just weren’t believable as problem-solver Fletcher Chase. I would love to see what Woody Harrelson could do with the role. I imagine he would present Fletcher Chase in a way that is both believable and interesting.
Although I wasn’t pleased with Wahlberg’s performance, I didn’t hate it, and it didn’t take much away from ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD overall. It’s still a great film that both intrigues and gives food for thought. Christmas may be the perfect time to see this film, and luckily, it comes out on Christmas Day. Take the family to see it so you have something other than politics to discuss over dinner.