Money can’t buy happiness, but it can pay for re-shoots (All the Money in the World review)

‘All the Money in the World’ is a film riddled with a problematic production period. In October, Ridley Scott announced that the film was basically finished, with Kevin Spacey playing billionaire J. Paul Getty. Then the news broke. Sexual abuse allegations left, right and centre, and Ridley Scott decided there was no way he could release the film, at least like this. Scott made a snap decision; he had to recast, he would reshoot the film with one month until its release. Christopher Plummer was cast as Getty (Scott’s second choice all along) and one month later, here we are. A full version of the film, Spacey-free (apart from a few distant shots which were impossible to re-shoot). The re-shoots also saw their fair-share of publicity, with pay-check disputes and $10 million ultimately being added to the budget. It is ironic that the film suffered about as much press controversy as Getty himself did for refusing to pay his grandson’s ransom.

The film’s greatest strength then, is that none of this is obvious. The film could have had the easiest production in the world and still look the same. The speed that Plummer was edited into the film is commendable, and at 80 years old, Ridley Scott has once again proven himself to be at the forefront of breaking new ground in cinema.

The film itself is a fantastic crime thriller, with a great performance from Plummer. His portrayal of J. Paul Getty is wonderfully horrible, and he delivers his greedy, devastating lines with brilliant understatement. I was also very impressed with Charlie Plummer (no relation) and his portrayal of the kidnapped J. Paul Getty III (here’s the relation).

I did feel that there were moments in the film that began to drag, and I’m sure that the screen time could easily shed 20 minutes or so. This is mainly due to the middle of the film beginning to feel repetitive. They’d ask for money, he said no, they’d ask again and he’d still refuse. When the finale of the film is so gripping, those moments begin to stand out.

Just as Darkest Hour featured some questionable events, so too did this film portray events that I thought were fabricated. However, during the credits, the film openly admitted that some of the events in the film were fake and were included for ‘dramatic effect’. This for me was perfectly acceptable. As long as you don’t try and claim the events were true when they weren’t, I have no issue with films admitting to bending the truth to make them more enjoyable.

Overall, the film is well worth a watch. The impressive re-shoots are undistinguishable from the original cut, and this fairly gripping thriller proves that money really can’t buy happiness.

7 Stars

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