the Money in the World
A 16-year-old American boy is out roaming the streets by the red
light district, having fun flirting with the hookers, and practicing his
Italian. They tell him that
the streets are no place for him, but he assures them he can take care of
himself. And no sooner are
those words out of his mouth than the van comes roaring up behind him, and
he's kidnapped. Just like
Except this is no ordinary 16-year-old.
Paul Getty (Charlie Plummer) is the grandson of THE J. Paul Getty
(Christopher Plummer, ironically, no relation to Charlie), the richest man
in the world. The paramilitary
group which pulled off the kidnapping assumed they would be paid millions
immediately. They were wrong.
J. Paul Getty is not about to pay any ransom.
He says he has lots of grandchildren, and if he starts paying
ransom for one of them, he'll have to pay for all of them.
So he adamantly refuses to negotiate with the terrorists.
Since his son, J. Paul Getty II (Andrew Buchan) is an addict and
non-functional, that leaves it up to Junior's ex-wife, Gail (Michelle
Williams). She will cooperate
with the police, and she will talk to the kidnappers, because she wants
her son back. But she doesn't
have any money. In the
backstory, we're informed that she bargained for custody of the children
in exchange for accepting no money for alimony or support payments.
But the problem is that now we have an open-ended standoff.
The kidnappers can't believe they can't get money out of J. Paul
Getty. And they don't believe
that Gail Getty is broke. Meanwhile,
Paul languishes in a makeshift cell, not eating well, and beginning to
despair that he'll ever get out alive.
It's a long, tense, humorless account, but fascinating in its
almost farcical components. Christopher
Plummer delivers a nefarious billionaire who more resembles Ebenezer
Scrooge before Christmas: all
greed and no heart. He revels
in his collection of valuable things, but seems to have no relationships
with persons, other than his hired staff.
He's the richest man in the world, but it's never enough.
Michelle Williams shines as the Mom who's caught in the middle,
helpless to do anything but decide when to judiciously make desperate
gestures. Attempting to assist
her is the old man's security chief, ex-CIA agent Fletcher Chase (Mark
Wahlberg). He at least
protects her from the ubiquitous agggressive paparazzi, who make privacy
This movie has all the pathos in the world.
But it somehow fails to deliver empathy in the viewer.
More like morbid curiosity. It's
intense, grim, and grimy, but it's not fun.