As a videographer/filmmaker, I consider the movie theater my classroom. Today in class I learned a few new lessons and had preexisting understandings reaffirmed. In this session my instructor was Ridley Scott who, in my opinion, is a giant in the world of Hollywood directors. Ridley Scott told us a story based on true events about one of the Wealthiest men that ever lived; Oil tycoon John Paul Getty. The name of the story is "All the Money in The World" based on the book "Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty" by John Pearson.
The story told in this film is very straightforward and reinforces a couple of invaluable life lessons. When one is as wealthy as John Paul Getty there is always someone who will figure out a way to separate the man from the money. In this instance Getty's grandson is kidnapped for ransom. The film pretty much open's up with this. The entire story gives us all of the intricate details of how the ransom is negotiated, the back-and-forth between the kidnappers, Getty (Christopher Plummer), Getty's advisor and investigator, Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) and Getty III's mother Gail Harris (Michelle Williams).
"All The Money In The World" (2017) Christopher Plummer as John Paul Getty.
MVP in this film goes to Mr. Christopher Plummer, which is no surprise because let's face it, the guy's a legend, a true master of his craft! Plummer's performance teaches us so much about the fragile nature of the relationship between man and his money. We are also a peek into the magnitude of arts and artifact collecting that Getty had amassed, it is truly remarkable. The character of Getty shows us that money and power mixed with ego and selfishness is more lethal than any drug and more potent than any alcoholic cocktail. We are also provided a further understanding that wealth opens one to unlimited options and resources while peeling away at the layers of an individual, revealing their true soul. Getty was not exempt from any of this. In fact he was a shining example of all that is wrong with one who has seemingly limitless funds.
"All The Money In the World" depicts the true depth of how miserly Getty was. You can watch the film and see. It is unprecedented. So much so that even with his grandson being kidnapped for ransom, a grandson whom he stated that he loved, even this could not separate him from any fraction of wealth. I am truly glad they replaced the actor Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer. Spacey was given prosthetic make-up to look older. I find this to be, at times a distraction from a great performance. Plummer felt much more authentic as a grouchy, selfish, lonely and truly miserable old man. It is at this point we are equipped to receive our life lessons:
Money will by many, many things; this is even more true now than in Getty's era. However, it can never buy integrity, true happiness, love, friends, family, a soul, etc...There is no book one can read, no app to download and no PayPal receipt in exchange for these qualities in life that simply must be practiced and earned. Oh yeah and peoples aren't things to be purchased and sat on a mantle or simply traded and discarded.
In relation to life itself, if one is a billionaire with no one to care for and no one that cares for them in any way, are they completely wealthy? When one draws their last breath, good finances can't give that last hug or stay by the bed until the last moment. A strong portfolio can't hold ones hand or whisper a song in their ear when they're unconscious...all the money in the world simply can't do that.
Quality relationships with other good people is the best investment in life. This is my experience. Also, always remember lessons 1 and 2 above.
The way that Scott directs is always well structured and very forthcoming. The cinematography is always fresh and edited to precision. He always employs the best cast, writers and producers. Today was a good day in class.
Definitely see this film!