The story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother to convince his billionaire grandfather Jean Paul Getty to pay the ransom.
All the Money in the World is a fascinating look at the true events of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III in 1973 when he was 16 years old. His mother, Gail (strongly played by Michelle Williams), is unrelenting, fighting for his life; she does everything in her power to make sure her son is freed. The task is not easy, as the senior Jean Paul Getty (magnificently portrayed by Christopher Plummer) is a stingy sort who believes if he pays the ransom, there will be more kidnappings—specifically those of his other grandchildren, with similar ransom requests. At one point, a special security agent, Chase (Mark Wahlberg), tells him he has the most money of anyone in the world and asks what would it take for him to feel secure about his finances. “More,” he replies.
The acting is outstanding, particularly that of Williams as Paul’s (Getty III) mother; Plummer as the senior J. Paul Getty, the billionaire oil tycoon; Wahlberg as Chase; and Charlie Plummer (no relation to Christopher) as Paul, the kidnapped grandson. There is a biblical passage about it being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of Heaven, and the senior Getty is surely an example of this scripture. In one scene in the film, he is willing to pay an exorbitant fee for a painting but holds out stubbornly on paying ransom money for his grandson’s release. It is Gail that matches Getty’s resolve who comes up with a solution to gain at least some help from Getty to free her son.
The movie is both touching and graphic, featuring a scene of the Italian kidnappers giving Paul strong alcohol to drink and then proceeding to cut off his ear to send home as a warning of their serious intentions. It is a very bloody scene, with blood spraying from the wound. Due to the violence and the use of strong language, including multiple uses of the F-bomb, and drug use, we are prevented from awarding the movie our Dove Seal. There is an ironic happening at the conclusion that is a bit delightful. The movie is well directed and Ridley Scott directs with a deft hand, drawing the audience into the story.