Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Cast: Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams, Mark Walhberg, Romain Duris, Timothy Hutton, Charlie Plummer, Andrew Buchan, Marco Leonardi, Giuseppe Bonifati, Nicholas Piedimonti Bodini, Guglielmo Favilla, Jonathan Aris.
Rarely does a film come with its own pre-release controversy, it is not uncommon but in terms of the magnitude of the last year and the seismic furore and disgust at the way Kevin Spacey, the former male lead in this sad sorrowful story of a rich man’s love of money over family, of the pursuit of greed and personal fortune, conducted himself in his life and the severity of allegations placed at his door. It would have come as no surprise to anybody had Ridley Scott just decided to push the film All The Money In The World back or allow it to gather dust, to see it become a museum piece, to let it become forgotten and be seen like John Paul Getty as nothing more than an anachronism in a changing world.
Rarely does a film own its controversy but for all the talk that went before, for all the rightful pulling of scenes and expensive re-shoots, All The Money In The World doesn’t just survive the disgrace of its former star, it flourishes, it has so much gravitas placed at its door, that it is impossible to ignore and much of that comes down to Christopher Plummer being placed in the part of the once richest man in the world; a part that to be frank he plays with diligence, care, absolute authority and with the best attribute of them all, humility.
You cannot judge a person for the times they live in, for their actions yes, but for the way they carry themselves when it comes to belief, first you must see what shapes them, and for John Paul Getty, it comes down to avarice, the pursuit of all things, to own all that he could at the right price, no matter what personal cost to him, or his family.
Looking at the story from the comfort of distance it is easy to condemn, even up close and with all the skewed lines upon the face of history, condemnation is still sitting at the very heart of the passage of play that captivated and enthralled newspaper and television headlines in the early 1970s; it is what makes this film so incredible, so human and so disturbing. The lie of money is that you can never have too much, got a million, you will strive for more, you will do anything to stay rich, to feel free and it is that question that Ridley Scott carries off so well in the film; exactly what is freedom, having money but requiring constant protection, or the freedom to have nothing but your own value; in a world that lauds the rich and castigates the poor, it is better to be honest.
Despite all the controversy, All The Money In The World is a film of excellence, Christopher Plummer and Romain Duris capture the time and the event with precision, a reminder that the root of all evil is not money but its complete control over other’s lives.
Ian D. Hall