Tag Archives: christopher plummer

KNIVES OUT (2019) – My rating 8.5/10

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Knives Out is a murder mystery written, produced, and directed by Rian Johnson. Described as a modern take on the whodunit, the film follows a family gathering gone awry, after the family patriarch’s death leads a master detective to investigate. I looked forward to seeing this film and it did not disappoint.

 

Wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) invites his family to a party at his mansion to celebrate his 85th birthday. The next morning, Harlan’s housekeeper Fran (Edi Patterson) finds him dead, apparently having slit his own throat. An anonymous figure hires private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to investigate. Blanc is accompanied by Detective Lieutenant Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield) throughout the investigation.  Blanc learns that Harlan had alienated many of the family: he had threatened to expose his son-in-law Richard Drysdale (Don Johnson) for having an affair; cut off his daughter-in-law Joni’s (Toni Collette) allowance for stealing money meant for Megan (Katherine Langford) his granddaughter’s tuition; fired his youngest son Walt (Michael Shannon) from his publishing company and cut his lazy grandson Ransom (Chris Evans) out of his will. Harlan’s daughter Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis), Harlan’s mother Wanetta who is affectionately known as “Great Nana” (K Callan) and Harlan’s nurse Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) are all still in Harlan’s favor.

Knives Out is a typical “who done it” film cleverly put together by Rian Johnson for the modern viewer. I thought this ensemble cast was brilliant as was their story. Clear and comprehensible, the pieces were placed coherently and fit like a glove. If you’re looking for a good brain teaser, Knives Out is your cup of tea. Most of the family had a motive to murder Harlan but only one did it.  Find out when you see Knives Out! The film received critical acclaim, particularly for its screenplay, direction, and acting, and has grossed over $132 million worldwide against a $40 million budget. At the 77th Golden Globe Awards, the film received three nominations in the Musical or Comedy categories: Best Motion Picture, Best Actor for Craig, and Best Actress for de Armas. Check It Out!

[KNIVES OUT is Oscar-Nominated for Best Original Screenplay — Totaling 1 Oscar nomination]

 

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (2017) – My rating: 7/10

All the Money in the World is a 2017 crime thriller directed by Ridley Scott and written by David Scarpa.  It is based on John Pearson’s 1995 book, Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty. The film depicts J. Paul Getty’s refusal to cooperate with the extortion demands of a group of kidnappers from the organized crime Mafia group ‘Ndrangheta, who abducted his grandson John Paul Getty III in 1973.  The story is history and the outcome is well known.  I found the film a bit drawn out but well documented.

In 1973, 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Paul), (Charlie Plummer) grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, (Christopher Plummer) the world’s richest private citizen, is kidnapped in Rome by an organized crime ring. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of $17 million. Via flashbacks, it is shown that Paul’s parents, Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) and John Paul Getty Jr. (Andrew Buchan), were divorced in 1971 due to Getty Jr.’s drug addiction. Gail rejected alimony in exchange for full custody of her children in the divorce settlement. Just living off her meager salary, she doesn’t have the means to pay the ransom. She visits Getty’s estate to beseech him to pay the ransom but he refuses because he feels that paying would encourage further kidnappings on his family members. The media picks up on the story, with many believing Gail to be rich herself and blaming her for the refusal to pay the ransom. Meanwhile, Getty asks Fletcher Chace (Mark Wahlberg), a Getty Oil negotiator and former CIA operative, to investigate the case and secure Paul’s release.

In the meanwhile, Paul is kept hostage in a remote location in Italy. Initially his captors, particularly Cinquanta (Romain Duris), are tolerant with him because his quiet and submissive demeanor causes them few problems. However, things grow increasingly tense as weeks go by without the ransom being paid.  Things get worse when one of the kidnappers accidentally shows his face to Paul, prompting one of the others to kill him for his foolish mistake. His burned and disfigured body is recovered in the river.  Investigators erroneously identify the body as Paul.

After repeated negotiations with Gail and Chace, and frustration from the captors at how long the process was taking, they lower the asking price to $4 million. Getty finally decides to contribute to the ransom, but only $1 million (the maximum amount he can claim as tax deductible). Additionally, he will only contribute if Gail signs a legal document waiving her parental access rights to Paul and her other children, giving them to Getty’s son.

The kidnappers cut off one of Paul’s ears and mail it to a major newspaper, claiming that they will continue mutilating him until the ransom is paid. Berated by an exasperated Chace, Getty finally relents and agrees to pay the full ransom, also voiding the parental agreement with Gail.

You might think this is the end of the saga, but it isn’t.  What happens next is both exciting and unexpected.  Also, the film explains what happens to John Paul Getty (the grandfather), his money and his grandson.  You will also learn what’s is store for the kidnappers and John Paul Getty, III’s mother and siblings.  In my opinion, “All the Money in the World” is a descent movie, which you can probably catch on DVD by now.  I urge you to check it out!

[All the money in the World has Oscar nominated Christopher Plummer for Best Actor]