Reviewed by: Francisco Gomez Jr.
What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Is it just “bad people” that are sinners, or are YOU a sinner? Answer
What is the FALL OF MAN? Answer
What is LUST? Answer
Greed / Love of money
What is Christian LOVE? Answer
What is MERCY? Answer
Mark Wahlberg … Fletcher Chase
Michelle Williams … Gail Harris
Charlie Plummer … John Paul Getty III
Christopher Plummer … J. Paul Getty
Timothy Hutton …
Teresa Mahoney … John Paul Getty II Carer
Stacy Martin … Secretary
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|Director:||Ridley Scott—“The Martian” (2015), “Thelma and Louise” (1991), “Gladiator” (2000)|
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TriStar Pictures, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment
“J. Paul Getty had a fortune. Everyone else paid the price.”
Ridley Scott directs “All the Money in the World” based on the true events surrounding the kidnapping of J.P. “Paul” Getty III. The film features Michelle Williams (as Gail Harris), Christopher Plummer (J. Paul Getty), Mark Wahlberg (Fletcher Chase), Romain Duris (Cinquanta), and Charlie Plummer (John “Paul” Getty III).
In 1973, Paul finds himself kidnapped. He is the grandson son of Getty, who has “all the money in the world,” yet Getty is not willing to offer any money. He instead sends Fletcher Chase to help daughter-in-law Gail Harris find his grandson. They try to negotiate a lower price from a starting point of seventeen-million-dollars. Amidst the terror, Paul finds an unlikely friend in kidnapper Cinquanta. Cinquanta eventually relates to Paul’s emotional destitution, and begins to aid him when possible. Now we have ourselves a case study on greed, family, and moral character that mirrors the production process.
Ridley Scott’s films are often really big hits, or really big misses. However, “All the Money in the World” feels somewhere in the middle. An impressive feat considering the film has undergone extensive reshoots with Plummer playing Getty. Kevin Spacey originally played Getty, but was accused of sexual assault.
The actors were complete professionals, and did the job superbly. Plummer’s acting is phenomenal. Michelle Williams’ character evokes deep empathy, while maintaining composure. David Scarpa’s script serves as a sail to this dialog heavy ship. Scott maintains his collaboration with cinematographer Dariusz Wolski who continues to produce beautiful shots.
While the ship manages to sail, perhaps it does not sail fast enough. While the film explores many interesting themes, it lacks an overarching moral. In typical Ridley Scott fashion, he allows the audience to discuss and draw conclusions. Usually his technique works, but in this film I was left wondering what exactly the intentions behind the film were. It lacks a particular sense of identity. This may be intentional—a hollowness of meaning to the film that parallels Getty’s sorrow. Getty struggles to identify who he is. Apart from a person of riches. Apart from someone who others seek to extort. He cannot separate his sense of self from money.
“An oil field, or a human life. It’s all the same.”
Chase explains that negotiating for a human life or an oil field is the same. Getty makes it clear that he much prefers “things” to people, because they are “pure” in intentions. Things “are exactly what they seem to be.” He devalues human life because of the extortion he has experienced. He feels alone. Getty claims to “love” his grandson, yet his actions very rarely demonstrate it. Scripture teaches us that…
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. —1 Corinthians 13:4-6
Getty directly contradicts the attributes of love through his actions. He is a proud, dishonoring, boastful, self-seeking, grudge of a man. In the place of true love, is an insatiable lust for “things.” He has alienated himself. His isolation is a consequence of his incapacity to truly love. What is the outcome of that choice? Exactly the outcome scripture warns us about: grief and sorrow.
What is LUST? Answer
Placing our identity in money will leave us like Getty, rich in “things” but poor in abundant life. Greed may act as a thief for Christians, robbing us of our purpose in Christ. Making possessions the king in our society can distract non believers from searching for the true King. We often seek the “good life” in items, but Christ is the only one capable of giving us a truly good life—and a home with Him eternal paradise.
“The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.” —John 10:10
You can follow Christ today, and experience life at its fullest measure. He offers eternal salvation for all who repent and surrender to Christ as their Lord. Surrendering to fleshly desires, like lust for money, will lead to sorrow. Surrender to Christ leads to abundant life.
Sensuality/Sexual Content/Nudity: Paul briefly talks to prostitutes before they remark that he is “too young.” Getty believes he is reincarnated, and that in his past life he had “made love to [his] concubines” at the Roman Coliseum. In a dimly lit scene, Paul walks into the room to find a half-naked woman walking past with bare breasts. He goes on to find his father in bed with another woman. A nude statue overlooks one scene, and another nude statue with a fig leaf covering the groin area makes a brief appearance. Gail briefly kisses her husband. Her husband briefly puts his hand under Gail’s shirt hugging her from behind.
Alcohol/Drug Use: Almost all characters drink alcohol at one point throughout the film. Characters smoke often. Paul’s father is intoxicated with drugs and the substances can be seen on the bedside table. Drugs are found in Paul’s room.
Violence: *Minor Spoilers* In a struggle, several men subdue Paul with a substance. Once subdued, they cut off his ear with explicit depiction of the operation. Lots of gore and blood spurts from the wound. A newspaper receives a photograph of Paul’s mutilated face and the ear, and both are explicitly depicted. Cinquanta helps heal Paul, his injured ear is in full view. In another scene, many of the captors are shot and killed on-screen. Police throw a concussion grenade. A captor is found alive, but he is mortally wounded and bleeding profusely. *End of Spoilers* A woman is asked to identify a dead, severely burned body that has been found—details are shown on screen. Police carry guns. A woman hits a man with a phone. There is a non-graphic scooter accident.
Language: “f**k” (15), “sh*t” (6), “b*tch” (3), “h*ll (3), “oh my G*d,” “b*stard,” “b*lls,” “scr*wed,” “p*ss.” Vandals paint Chase’s car with a pentagram.
Other: Paul is heard peeing off-screen. A captor pulls down his pants and squats (nothing explicit is shown).
Ridley Scott firmly directs “All the Money in the World” with most actors bringing their best. The script works for the most part, but some may find the film lacks pacing. Wolski handles the camera with care like a true seasoned film veteran. Some interesting points are explored with an unclear intention. However, the film is graphic in more ways than one. The R-rating states the obvious, this film is for mature adults. Not only for mature adults, but if you choose to watch, for mature Christians. I cannot urge you to watch this film. There are more entertaining and constructive films out there. As always, use spiritual discernment and discretion.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.