At the age of eighty, filmmaker Ridley Scott has a resume that includes forty-two directed films and 126 produced films. Those films include "Alien", "Blade Runner", "Thelma & Louise", "Gladiator", "American Gangster", and "The Martian." All are great films, but his latest film - "All the Money in the World" - may well become the film for which he is most remembered.


As of October 28, it was completed with marketing and promotional products distributed and preparing for its December 22 release as a serious film "for consideration" during the upcoming awards season. No one was making a big deal about it. It was seemingly well cast with Mark Walhberg, Michelle Williams and Kevin Spacey in a support role.


Then, on October 29 the first of fifteen accusations flew at Kevin Spacey concerning sexual behavior in the past and suddenly the films future became a question mark. Sony Pictures was looking at dumping their $35 million film when Scott boldly moved to reshoot all of Spacey's scenes with a different actor; in actuality the actor Scott originally proposed - Christopher Plummer.

Scott had seven weeks to get the script to Plummer, get all the other relevant actors on board, secure all the Rome sets again, fly to Rome and shoot, edit the film, modify all the marketing to reflect the change in personell and be done in time for consideration. This would be a Herculean effort that somehow was completed in time. But what would it look like? Would this be Plummer's head digitally attached to Spacey's body like an old Ed Wood film?


The result is a performance that should net Plummer award considerations for his sterling support performance as J. Paul Getty; a role that is not some puny cameo but rather a very extensive, deeply nuanced role in a two hour and twelve minute film. A role that only a veteran actor with over 200 film credits could pull off in a moments notice.


The film concerns the kidnapping of Getty's grandson, John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and the efforts but the boy's mother, Gail Harris (Michelle Williams), to try to convince the miserly grandpa to pay the ransom. She is assisted by the old man's right hand man Fletcher Chase (Wahlberg) as they fielded the calls form the Italian gangster who committed the crime.

It becomes a race against time as the kidnappers, at first led by a guy named Cinquanta (Romain Duris) demand a $17 million ransom. But they had no idea that old man Getty would stonewall so much so that he would often not accept calls from his former daughter-in-law. Even after Cinquanta turned the boy over to a larger more ruthless gang, did Getty budge.


Williams turns in a very believable performance as the concerned mother who is completely baffled that her billionaire former father-in-law could be so cheap. Even after she discovered he installed a payphone in his magnificent estate for guests to use! Walhberg delivers a solid performance as the giy who initially agrees with his bosses determination not to pay the ransom and works to negotiate for a lower price.


Plummer, as old man Getty is icy cold as he boosts about his wealth, rues the weakness of his offspring and steadfastly demonstrates that he values items over people. He equates that if he paid the $17 million ransom for this one grandson, then soon all 14 of his grandchildren would be kidnapped.


Except for a couple of brief flashback scenes during which Scott reflected on Getty in his 50's - Plummer is 88-years old and pretty much looked like an 88-year old trying to portray a 50-year old. Um, that didn't work. But fortunately it was a quick scene that will not detract from Plummers performance. In fact, it added a comical hue to a mostly serious film.


But there are key lines delivered by Plummer that are truly memorable and the type that generally qualify a performance classic. But in the end, we must also consider that it was Scott who was smart enough to re-shoot and direct Plummer to what will go down as a textbook lesson in "the show must go on!"


Beyond Scott's boldness and Plummer's talent, you cannot overlook film editor Claire Simpson's tight editing that seamlessly stitched this film together. Look for her to be nominated again (she has one Oscar for "Platoon").


"All the Money in the World" is not only one of the best films of the year, it will go down as perhaps the greatest reshoot ever pulled off with classic performances and an intriguing narrative. Must see!   -- GEOFF BURTON