- Christopher Plummer is great in “All the Money in the World” – like, Oscar-great.
- Kevin Spacey originally played the role, but after sexual-misconduct allegations emerged against him, the film’s director, Ridley Scott, reshot all the scenes with Plummer instead.
- The movie is your typical ransom movie, but GOD, Christopher Plummer!
Kevin Spacey has lost many things in the wake of numerous sexual-misconduct allegations against him, and one more you can add is a potential Oscar nomination.
Spacey originally played the billionaire J. Paul Getty in the Ridley Scott movie “All the Money in the World” (in theatres Monday), but following the allegations against the actor, Scott reshot all of Spacey’s scenes with Christopher Plummer just a few weeks ago. In doing so, he’s given Plummer a shot at Oscar glory.
Honestly, that’s how great Plummer’s real-life Scrooge McDuck portrayal of Getty is in the movie.
It just shows the talent that Plummer has. One day he’s sitting comfortably at home, and the next he’s jetted off to a film set and gives this kind of performance with minimal prep.
Outside Plummer’s acting ability, it’s a testament to Scott’s direction and the screenplay by David Scarpa, who adapted the John Pearson book.
“All the Money in the World” looks at the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, the grandson of the billionaire Jean Paul Getty (Plummer). The movie unfolds like a usual ransom movie – the kidnappers tell the family how much it will cost to get the boy back, and the family frantically tries to oblige before anything happens to him. But in this one, the major roadblock is the person you’d think could end it all: J. Paul Getty himself. The man with all the money in the world is also the stingiest man in the world.
What we quickly learn in brief flashbacks is that Getty isn’t just insanely wealthy as the founder of Getty Oil; he also won’t give up his money for anything, except for the priceless art that’s inside his home(s). In one scene, his laundry is hanging in the bathroom because he can’t bear to waste money on the hotel doing it. In another scene, young Paul III reads a letter to his grandfather of someone begging for money to help with an illness. Getty has him dictate a stern response refusing to help. He even has a pay phone on his estate for guests to use if they want to make outside calls.
The entertainingly awful behaviour and actions of Getty are really the highlight of the movie. And Plummer seems to enjoy every moment of it.
There is also a strong story among all the Getty antics.
Paul III’s mother, Gail Harris (Michelle Williams), is frantic trying to persuade Getty to give a damn and fork over some money for the ransom. Getty looks to have a soft spot for Paul when he calls on his fixer Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to work alongside Gail in getting Paul back. Things get complicated when Chase believes Paul III devised a plot to kidnap himself only to eventually realise that is not the case and Paul III is in great danger (amplified when the kidnappers mail a newspaper a piece of Paul’s ear).
By this point, Getty won’t budge unless Gail agrees to something the billionaire has proposed. And in that we’re given the greatest example of just how spineless Getty really is.
The movie is a strong drama with some thrills mixed with a surprising amount of humour. But its highlight is Plummer’s performance.
It’s quite remarkable that it took only nine days or so to take Spacey out and plug Plummer in (though there’s one shot with Getty in the distance getting off a train that looks to be a Spacey-as-Getty shot). If Plummer can make a run for a best supporting actor Oscar, it will cement his performance as one of the most distinctive ever on-screen.
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