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As mentioned in the movie, “the events of this film have been fictionalized.” When I read that text on-screen, I was hoping for a much more entertaining movie than what was delivered. Yes, this is a horrific event that would scar someone for life, but when you make a movie about a kidnapping, I feel like your audience needs to be completely engaged. This was the one thing that I felt this film lacked. You may not feel the same way, so take this review with a grain of salt, but I found All the Money in the World to be a powerful story, held up by a very slow-paced structure of a film. It’s not something I’d tell you to rush out and see, but it’s definitely worth a watch. Let’s dive into a few details.
Personally, I hadn’t ever heard about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III. This story was new to me, so I was fascinated to learn about the outcome. Following Gail Harris, a worried mother who will do nothing until her son’s kidnappers are either caught or paid, All the Money in the World is a slow-burn in comparison to its premise. Taking its time to set up the core story throughout the first act, we get to understand how cruel of a man John Paul Getty (Gail’s father) really was. Being a billionaire and refusing to give up the 17 million being asked for, this film becomes more of a puzzle of how to accomplish this big task and bring her son home. While the story itself is very engaging, the pacing itself is where the film began to lose me at times.
Yes, when the film reaches its third act, it fires on all cylinders and never lets go of its audience until the credits roll. That being said, the first two acts of this film involve a lot of conversations on how to accomplish goals and taking many phone calls with the kidnappers. The dialogue is very well-written and keeps you engaged throughout the course of the entire film, but I feel that the movie itself was about 20 minutes too long and certain sequences could’ve easily been trimmed down, making for a much more exciting film. Not that this is supposed to be an exciting story or anything, but the kick was missing for me.
When it comes to performing for the cameras, Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams, and Mark Wahlberg are all names that we’ve heard countless times throughout the years. Plummer makes you hate his character, Williams truly makes you feel for her portrayal as this concerned mother, and Wahlberg does his schtick as well as ever. In terms of performers taking you through this story, I can’t say I have any complaints, the trailers for this movie will always make me revert back to my pacing argument.
Upon release of the first major trailer for this movie, it was cut together like a music video, making audiences believe they’re in for a rollicking thriller from beginning to end when in reality, the trailer very briefly defines the third act. The marketing team for this film has done a great job of getting people interested, but it’s not okay to lie about the tone. I didn’t let this affect my experience of the film itself, but I felt that should’ve been noted.
In the end, All the Money in the World isn’t the type of movie that will be re-watchable in the coming years (at least in my opinion), but if you’re unfamiliar with this story or have been wanting a film to be made about it, I fell that you’ll be satisfied with the final product. Everyone comes to play here, even in the solid direction by director Ridley Scott (which I feel was odd for him to take this film on in general). I can’t tell you to rush out to the theatres for this one, but it’s definitely worth an eventual watch. Solid flick.