Ridley Scott takes a step back from making sci-fi films like The Martian and Alien, and takes a crack at a story based on real life events. With a lot of drama during production with Christopher Plummer coming in to replace Kevin Spacey, and Plummer’s scenes being filmed in just 2 weeks, I was surprised to see the level of praise this film was getting.
Starting off with that aforementioned replacement, I have to say I am astounded how well Christopher Plummer’s scenes are integrated into the film, and the performance given by the veteran actor. I don’t know what Kevin Spacey’s performance would have been like, but its hard to imagine anyone being able to deliver better than Plummer does. The buzz around his performance is completely warranted and the fact he filmed it all in 2 weeks just adds to the astonishment. In a time when method actors like Daniel Day-Lewis and Gary Oldman take months and months working to perfect a character, there’s something unusually refreshing about an actor just turning up on day one and performing excellently despite the lack of preparation.
Plummer isn’t alone in his excellence, with Michelle Williams excelling in her role as the desperate mother of the kidnapped boy. She was in the last movie I reviewed, The Greatest Showman, and seeing her solid performance there backed up by this one really shows her diversity and talent. I found myself engaged with her struggles and cheering for her to find a way to get her son back. Her son is played by Charlie Plummer (no relation to Christopher) and I have no previous experience of this guy but he plays it well, even if there isn’t a great deal for him to do except look sad and be beaten by his captors.
Mark Wahlberg is also in two films in cinemas at the moment, this film, and the comedy Daddy’s Home 2. I don’t think these two films could be more different, and it’s good to see Wahlberg taking on more serious roles. He gives the best performance I’ve seen in a while from Marky Mark, and it’s good to see him continuing to mix it up between comedy, action and serious roles. The real stand out of the film to me is the french actor Romain Duris, who plays kidnapper Cinquanta. For me his arc is by far the most interesting, going from a confident, intimidating kidnapper to a sympathetic ally over the course of the film. I haven’t heard much buzz about him but I thought he gave a superb performance, even if it didn’t quite match the efforts of Christopher Plummer.
What you may have noticed here is this review is all about the performances of the actors. That is, quite simply, because that is what this movie is 100% focused on. There is no action, no comedy and no real twists throughout the film. It does toy with you, and the script is written to try to tease you with different potential outcomes but the strength of All The Money In The World is in the performances director Ridley Scott manages to draw out of his cast.
The film plods along quite evenly for the most part, although there is easily around 30 minutes I felt could have been cut out. Once we get into the story and figure out where the plot is going, the film kind of stands still and catches its breath for a bit before anything else exciting happens. This slight dip in engagement wasn’t too much of an issue as I was still interested in what was going to happen and there is one particularly difficult scene to watch that really kicks you back into gear for the final act of the film.
The Good: This is chock full of some excellent performances from a few members of the cast, and the story is intriguing even if it does feel stretched over the 2 hours.
The Bad: As i said there is still some fat that could have been trimmed from the film, and the plot is pretty simple. It’s the Characters you stay for.
8/10 – Christopher Plummer masterclass.