If you don't like this, we can't be friends.
Although I seem to have had higher expectations than I thought, the movie is super entertaining.
The film never slows down or bores, plunging from one harrowing sequence to the next.
The film is based on the real life kidnapping of John Paul Getty the third. He was the grandson John Paul Getty who was at the time the richest man in the world. The acting is good, especially by the mom and the kid who plays the victim. However, the writers take a very interesting story and turn it into a Lifetime Network knockoff. I was in middle school at the time the real story was unfolding, and we were all freaked out by how cheap the grandfather seemed, what with the severed ear and all. The fact he had a pay phone in his palace said a lot too. Over time I learned that he had a stable of eight girlfriends living with him, and he liked to see them fight with each other , over him. That the movie would leave this part out shows how far down the rabbit hole we are. Even the TV show, "Trust", included the girls, and it was far better for it. It's as though they had to portray the old man as miserable at all costs, because he wasn't that into kids and family."Those kids are my blood, AND SHE TOOK THEM," John Paul Getty scoffs...oh pleeeeze... he was chasing 8 hotties around the estate and is rumored to have had the first working pre viagra med. It was a different time, and people didn't used to even pretend they were obsessing over their kids. They portray the mom being the master mind of the ransom negotiation. They also show her living pretty well but never doing any actual work, so you wonder who is paying her bills. At the time all this took place, most people had an attitude that "children should be seen and not heard", but the writers airbrush this out and fill in today's social milieu. They also show the mom gaining control of all the money after the old man's death, so it fits perfectly into the narrative "evil man ends up dead and single mom gets his jack" (sound familiar?) They exclude many real life facts including moms marriage to a B movie star and living in a villa in Brentwood with him, so makes you wonder about accuracy of the story.The fact that Hollywood would edit out real life and airbrush in a current day PC version, complete with a moral is kind of ironic, considering the first casting couch is over 100 years old now, and divorce and kids being raised by nannies is their norm. Save your money and watch the TV series, it's more realistic anyway.
Before we delve into the difficult circumstances that surrounded the production of this well-crafted picture - something I personally didn't expect due to all the misfortune the universe threw at it with the recast of Christopher Plummer as John Paul Getty instead of Kevin Spacey- let's talk first about its brilliancy. Believe me, we should not undermine how much work and endeavour had gone into this movie, let's not take away the honour that the visionary octogenarian director Ridley Scott deserves for making this thorough and visually astonishing picture. I have to admit, even though I have always been a massive fan, I could not believe that the man could effectively create such an intricate picture, knowing that he had to give away multiple scenes featuring the laid off actor Kevin spacey let alone make the bald decision of letting him go midway into the movie's production. As always , Ridley Scott tells rather beautifully the story of a billionaire who suffered to make his fortune and fought well to keep it, the story of the then richest man in the world John Paul Getty played by the wonderful Christopher Plummer, a merciless industrialist who left life aside to pursue a never ending accumulation of money .but even though the picture itself focused more on the kidnapping of his grandson and the way his family , and especially his mother portrayed by Michelle Williams , dealt with it , ranging from grief and sorrow to plain desperation , it never forgets its main character: the man that created the whole mess his family was so tragically spiralling inside . The amount of complexity that the character of John Paul Getty was showing throughout his life would be extremely hard to portray for someone of a lower calibre than Christopher Plummer , the highly talented and experienced actor conveyed perfectly the war that was going inside the man during his grandson's kidnaping , the mixed sense of guilt , remorse and his conventional cold sense of dealing with problems made him live a very difficult situation back then : he knows that every moment he waits is threatening the life of his beloved grandson but his nature , one of a hardened and tough industrialist stops him every time from letting his feeling of disparity loose , he knows well that he amassed his fortune and built his empire by cutting all expenses which means that his is stroke in his deepest weak points when his money is put into bargain against his loved ones by the Italian mob . However, the brilliant depiction of his character in this picture shows that there was no way that John Paul Getty would have given away his money to the kidnappers, his convoluted ways would certainly result in his grandson's death! The safe return of John Paul Getty III was the fruit of the tireless efforts of his mother Gail Harris who pushed his rich but obstinate grandfather to see the idiocrasy of his moral principals ,and after the final blow dealt by Fletcher Chace ,portrayed by mark Wahlberg, Gail and Getty's adviser and former CIA operative who confronted the man about his fragility and the vulnerability of his whole ethics' system , causing the man to pay the exact amount of the ransom , which led to the safe return of his grandson who was aided by a very friendly Italian gangster to escape his abduction , but unfortunately led to his lonely and miserable death .
This picture is honestly very underrated, its story was thorough, and its characters were well built and amazingly acted. It may have suffered of the scandal of Kevin Spacey, who disappointed me when I was highly revering him as one of Hollywood's greatest, but it survived , and that is in itself a colossal achievement for which the great Ridley Scott deserves all the praise.
Christopher Plummer gives an apppropriately icy turn as the mean billionaire J Paul Getty, who claims to love his grandson Paul, yet won't pay the ransom to free him after he is kidnapped. In the hands of the ruthless Italian mafia, Paul, played with moving vulnerability by Charlie Plummer, is kept imprisoned in a cave and has his ear cut off. Director Ridley Scott doesn't spare us the gory procedure. It shows how soulless and inhuman the kidnappers are. They cook for their families and dance and don't care that Paul is suffering. Interestingly, like Getty, all they care about is money. The cinematography, both in Italy and at Getty's mansion in England, is mostly washed out and grey, as if to reflect the poor state of the characters' souls. As the private detective Getty hires to find Paul, Mark Wahlberg is a little confusing. He starts off as a faithful Getty servant but later turns on him - swearing at him, which I find hard to believe he would do.
Paul's mother Gail is the moral centre of the film and with her ex husband, Paul's father JP junior, a drug addled mess, Gail is a tower of strength. As Gail, Michelle Williams is intelligent and understated. Gail actually loves her son, and unlike so many others, will step up and fight to get him back. It's really sad that Getty wasn't able to use his wealth for good. He shirked his duty to his family, and missed out on a lot of love in return, as the scene of a boy Paul, holding Getty's hand as they go through some Roman ruins.
I hated this film. Michelle Williams butchered it. She was awful. It was hard to get through for me. It was boring and doesn't keep your attention. The kid was also stupid. Just bad acting I thought.