Originally Published on Salty Popcorn
With under a month left until the film was set to be released worldwide, Scott pulled together all of the film’s cast and crew and returned to re-shoot all of Spacey’s scenes, now with Christopher Plummer in the role of J. Paul Getty instead. It was a feat many believed to be impossible, citing Scott as a madman. As it turns out, he is a madman, but he’s a genius madman, and one that deserves all the acclamation he can get simply for pulling such a risky move. In just eight days, Scott and Plummer re-shot all 22 of Spacey’s scenes, and it’s the best decision this film could have ever made.
I want this film to be a success. It’s not the best film ever made, and I’ll get into why soon, but just out of respect for the craftsmanship and Scott’s unbridled dedication to what he believed in, this film needs to win back big time. It deserves it. They pulled off the impossible and they pulled it off to an almost seamless degree. For eagle-eyed viewers, Spacey still manages to sneak into a few wide shots here and there, and there’s a strange CGI-composited shot with Plummer over the top, but for the most part, the transition of actors works without flaw, and made this a better film than it ever would’ve been before.
Scott’s direction is all class, creating an effectively drab depiction of 1973 that’s brilliant in all technical aspects. The set designing, costuming, visual aesthetic and overarching feel of the period is executed flawlessly. You’re drawn into this world and locked inside, where everything is stunning and alive, never cheap or obviously a soundstage. You buy into all of it. But no matter how good it may look and feel, it’s hard to save ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD’s lackluster narrative and generic storytelling.
When we do reach the third act, the familiarities go from annoying to numbing. It’s very bad. At that point in the film, where I should be feeling a swirling sensation of emotion, all I felt was boredom and frustration, which was furthered by a post-viewing Google search of how the true story actually went down. A great deal of the finale, which I won’t spoil, is fabricated or manipulated to benefit the film, but it results in a mediocre decision. The true story’s conclusion is far more fascinating than what happens in the film. A fact-based ending would’ve hit the film’s messages home far more effectively than how they choose to end it on screen.
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