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Ridley Scott has an astonishing film record. He directed some of the greatest films of the last decades, but over the last 10 years or so, I feel it harder to grow warm anticipation to the respective next project. To many disappointments paved his way, the Alien prequels most recently, but also the non SciFi works such as “The Counsellor”, were rather meh… Still, there are gems, also recently, such as “The Martian”, and I wouldn’t want to miss his respective next movie, as there’s usually something interesting to be had. With “All the Money in the World”, there’s a bunch of actors that I would always pay to see (Michelle Williams and Christopher Plummer, most notably). There is a 1970s setting that promises fun production design, and there’s an abduction story that promises at least a good starting point. On the other hand… “Based on a real story” more often than not announces a certain level of predictability and ordinariness, and I need to state that “All the Money…” fulfils this expectation. There are not many aspects about the story that elevate the film above what you can expect when reading the premise or the plot summary. As dramatic as events may have been, sticking close to what actually occurred imposes shackles that make the plot development a bit too straightforward to actually be exciting.

Still there is Plummer as Jean Paul Getty, billionaire misanthropist and possibly the best and worst grandfather one could imagine. He is quite astonishing a character in his Xanadu world, the pleas for a bit of human touch deflecting on his hard shell that defines his life as a business man. The kidnappers are pretty cardboardish, (accurately or not) representing the worst clichés of small-time Italian crooks and (later) organized crime. While I do in general like Mark Wahlberg as a screen presence, he is not given a lot to do in his role as privately hired investigator, making his part feel a bit shoehorned into the story to allow for another A-list actor to fill the poster.

The film is still entertaining (and the post-production recasting does not matter when you watch it), but at the end of the day, it will be pretty hard to remember a lot about it in a couple of weeks or even years. Not among Scott’s master pieces.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/all_the_money_in_the_world_2017

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