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All The Money In The World  : Kidnaps Too Are A Business Deal
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Friday, January 5, 2018
Ridley Scott
Charlie Plummer, Kevin Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Williams, Romain Duris

What happens when the grandson of the richest man in the history of the world is snatched off the streets of Rome? Although the facts of the real-life Paul Getty kidnap are known to most, director Ridley Scott keeps the thrill intact as the screenplay by David Scarpa goes into the mansion of the unimaginably rich along with the equations and emotions which rule that world.


When Paul Getty Junior is kidnapped for a 17-million dollar ransom, it’s only his mother Gail who moves heaven, earth and the Getty empire to save her son. Her ex-husband is too lost in the haze of drugs to know what’s happening. Her ex-father-in-law, the richest man on earth, and grandfather of the kidnapped youth, is sure that he won’t pay up. He has 14 grandchildren and settling would mean 14 potential kidnaps.


Glimpses of Paul Getty’s fortune-building life piece together the story of a businessman who tells an interviewer, “If you can count your money, you aren’t a billionaire.” A man whose adrenaline is the stock market and investment in art and artefacts. As he explains to Fletcher Chase, his Mr Fix-it, “I like things because they are what they appear to be.”


The crime itself had a medley of elements. On the one hand was the ruthlessness of selling young Paul to a bigger criminal who sees it as a business investment and cuts off his ear to show that he means business. On the other was the original, small-time kidnapper who had a soft corner for the boy and saved him from further harm.


Thus, there’s the cold-heartedness of business deals and tugs of the heart at play both in Getty’s world and in the world of criminals. It’s a thought that’s visually said when the ransom money is counted. It’s pure business at the bank where the notes are counted and bagged. The money is counted in the same brisk, business-like manner by the gangsters when they receive it.


The billionaire once told his grandson, ‘To be a Getty is extraordinary.’ But the film itself isan extraordinary salute to octogenarians.80-year-old director Ridley Scott and 88-year-old Christopher Plummer who plays Paul Getty, carry it off on their still-robust shoulders.Mark Wahlberg as Fletcher has as much to do as the artefacts in Getty’s collection. But Michelle Williams gets a wonderful opportunity to morph from happy wife to anguished mother.


For a true-life crime drama that’s well-narrated, All The Money In The World gets a 3.5* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author


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