"All the Money in the world Review:
Kevin Spacey replacement Christopher Plummer is worth every penny.
When it comes to the bone-splintering crunch of it, how much in cold, hard currency are any of us actually worth? It’s a question Kevin Spacey must have asked himself after his performance as the oil baron J Paul Getty was cut from Ridley Scott’s new film in light of widespread allegations of sexual harassment.
The answer in Spacey’s case is evidently far less than the cost of the extraordinary 11th-hour reshoots which saw Scott’s all-but-finished film hauled back into production for nine days, during which the disgraced actor’s performance was replaced in full by Christopher Plummer – Scott’s original choice for the role, until the studio persuaded him to cast the bigger star. But the question is also a central plank of the film itself.
The film is a barnstormer on its own terms, but knowledge of its last-second reworking undoubtedly gives the action an extra purr of panic, as if Sir Ridley himself might be tucked behind the cinema screen, adding finishing touches while you watch.
The muscular screenplay by David Scarpa, adapted from a biography of Getty Sr by John Pearson, swan-dives right into the moral black hole that opens up when a human life becomes an asset to be cashed in or carved up at the discretion of investors.
As ever with Scott, the film unfolds in a richly realised world and moves with an addictive, free-wheeling swagger. And his four main actors – Williams, Wahlberg and the Plummers old and young – have all been astutely cast. Michelle Williams is particularly good – there is a trace of Audrey Hepburn in her increasingly weary Mid-Atlantic inflections – while the strong physical resemblance between her and Paul helps set the two a step apart from the baleful Getty clan.