All the Money in the World ★★★½

I'll admit that the 1973 story of the kidnapped 16-year old "poor" Getty grandchild in Italy riveted my interest at the time. Who could not feel a touch of Schadenfreude at the troubles of the super rich? So, hardly any of the major developments in this film came as a surprise to me...which probably won't be true for most of the audience. Nevertheless, the the actual film is a gripping, well acted thriller...despite when the script took a few excessive detours for dramatic license and stretched credulity beyond the breaking point.

By now, everybody knows that director Ridley Scott made the decision to re-cast a major character less than a month before the final release date. It's something of a distraction to wonder what Kevin Spacey would have done with the role of J. Paul Getty had he not become perceived as radioactive box-office poison. As it turns out, his rushed replacement in twenty-two reshot scenes was a fortuitous development, as Christopher Plummer aced the role, perfectly embodying the real Getty. Why was he not cast in the first place? Also, kudos to Michelle Williams, who plays the young Paolo Getty's mother with steely intelligence and integrity. Bottom line: despite my foreknowledge of the plot, I was enthralled and impressed by the sumptuousness of the production.

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