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!