Posts Tagged Ridley Scott

All The Money In The World (2017 film)

“All The Money In The World” is a gripping and intense drama based on the true story of the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, the grandson of the wealthiest man in the world at the time, J. Paul Getty. Directed by Ridley Scott and released in 2017, the film stars Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams, and Mark Wahlberg.

The film follows the harrowing ordeal of John Paul Getty III’s kidnapping, and the frantic efforts of his mother, Gail Harris (Michelle Williams), to secure his release. However, she faces an unexpected obstacle in the form of her former father-in-law, J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), who refuses to pay the ransom and seems more concerned with his wealth and reputation than his own grandson’s safety.

The standout performance in the film is undoubtedly Christopher Plummer’s portrayal of J. Paul Getty. Plummer stepped in to replace Kevin Spacey, who was originally cast in the role, and delivers a powerful and nuanced performance that earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Michelle Williams also delivers a strong performance as Gail Harris, portraying a mother’s desperation and determination to save her son.

The film’s direction by Ridley Scott is masterful, with tense and suspenseful scenes that keep the viewer on the edge of their seat. The cinematography and production design are also noteworthy, transporting the viewer to the opulent world of the Getty family and the dark underworld of the kidnappers.

“All The Money In The World” is a compelling and well-crafted film that tells a riveting story of greed, power, and family. The dark humour arises from John Paul Getty’s obsession with his fortune, making him a target of criticism. Despite the astronomical ransom demanded for his grandson’s release, Getty haggles and tries to negotiate a lower price, showcasing his extreme miserliness. This behaviour goes beyond a simple explanation of wealth, suggesting deeper emotional and mental issues. Gail’s restraint and Williams’ performance capture her frustration while navigating Getty’s callousness.

The film provides a throwback to the 1970s, featuring recognisable human beings dealing with tense situations based on true events. Ridley Scott skilfully balances realism and Hollywood fantasy, creating a film that feels genuine. The film acknowledges that liberties were taken with the historical record, particularly in placing Gail and Fletcher Chase, Getty’s business manager, in dangerous situations. This approach adds a layer of intensity to the narrative.

“All The Money In The World” stands as a testament to Ridley Scott’s work ethic, as he replaced Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer after Spacey’s misconduct allegations. Plummer’s exceptional performance as J. Paul Getty transcends the film, depicting a character emblematic of an era where money seems to hold more value than mercy.

“All The Money In The World” is a must-see film that combines a compelling true crime narrative with outstanding performances, masterful direction, and captivating production design. It explores themes of greed, power, and family dynamics while shedding light on the dark side of immense wealth.

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

Poster attribution: The poster art can or could be obtained from the distributor. Fair use,


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House of Gucci (2021)

Ridley Scott
Becky Johnston (screenplay by) Roberto Bentivegna (screenplay by) Sara Gay Forden (based on the book by)
Stars: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Salma Hayek, Jared Leto

House of Gucci is a difficult film to categorise. That’s led to some criticism. It’s a straightforward enough tale which centres on the love affair between Maurizio (Adam Driver) and Patrizia (Lady Gaga). Patrizia is the daughter of the owner of a truck company and Maurizio is an heir to the Gucci fashion dynasty. Maurizio’s father, Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) doesn’t like Patrizia. He is a snob who reacts to the marriage of the two lovers by cutting them off. His uncle, Aldo (Al Pacino) sees potential in Patrizia and includes her.

An enjoyable film that switches between a dark drama and comedy.

The film chronicles the feuds, back stabbing, plotting and even murder in this high drama but at times it switches to comedy. This is particularly true when Aldo’s son Paolo is on screen (an incredible performance from Jared Leto). I laughed outloud at some of the scenes with Paolo. His strange fashion designs and interactions with the rest of the family were hilarious. I didn’t have a problem with the film switching between that and darker content.

Perhaps this is a perverse view but at the end I couldn’t help but think that had they listened to the streetwise and savvy Patrizia the Gucci’s might have fared better!

House of Gucci is an enjoyable and very watchable film with a great ensemble cast. The interactions between different cast members is fascinating to watch – Irons and Pacino, Salma Hayek (as the Psychic Pina Auriemma) and Gaga and Gaga and Driver to list just a few of the combinations. Keep an open mind and you will enjoy it.

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

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The Martian (2015)

12A | 144 min |
Writers: Drew Goddard (screenplay), Andy Weir (book)
Stars: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig |

Talking about Ridley Scott’s new film, The Martian, with a work colleague, she asked me ‘Is it a Space movie?’ I told her it was. ‘I don’t watch space movies’, she replied. I see her point. Many ‘space movies’ spend a lot of money on CGI special effects and shock horror violence but can be very disappointing to watch. I told her that this was more like Robinson Crusoe or Castaway. It happened to be set on Mars but could easily have been a desert island in the Pacific Ocean, the Brazilian jungle or somewhere in Antarctica.

On the other hand, Ridley Scott rarely disappoints. He has made one or two very good ‘space movies’ in his time. Unlike his classic Alien series and Bladerunner, this is a positive feel-good movie where humanity triumphs over adversity. Astronaut and botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) finds himself marooned on Mars after he is injured and left for dead by his colleagues in the middle of a severe storm.

Things don’t look good for him as the supplies left in the forward base on Mars will not last until the next scheduled mission and everyone on earth and his homeward bound erstwhile comrades on the Mars mission thinks he is dead. Watney uses his skills as a botanist to improve his survival chances by growing spuds in a mixture of Martian soil and his own shit after a risky attempt to convert hydrogen and oxygen into water succeeds. All he has to do is survive long enough to make the trip to the scheduled site of the next Mars landing and let the folks back home know he is there. Not good odds…

The narrative is helped by Damon’s character posting regular video updates for posterity in case he doesn’t survive. The script is clever, witty and compelling and the science is believable without being too geeky. We really care for this character. We identify with his gallows humour and feel for the tortured mission commander (Jessica Chastlain) when she learns that the man she left for dead is still alive and apparently beyond her help. This film is terrific entertainment with a super soundtrack including Bowie’s Space Oddity and lots of seventies disco music. Your attention never flags despite the fact it runs for two hours and twenty minutes. You’ll enjoy it – even if you don’t like ‘space films’.

Reviewed by David Kerr

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Child 44

Initial release: April 15, 2015
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Running time: 2h 17m
Screenplay: Richard Price
Producers: Ridley Scott, Greg Shapiro, Michael Schaefer
Tom Hardy – Leo Demidov
Gary Oldman – Timur Nesterov
Noomi Rapace – Raisa
Joel Kinnaman – Vasili

In order to survive, let alone prosper, in Soviet Russia you needed a certain skillset. Above all it was necessary to adapt to whatever ‘truth’ the Party was at the time promoting. Those who clung to an objective view of truth did not do well. In the Stalinist era notions of personal integrity and honour were weaknesses likely to get you killed (at best!). To survive you had to be prepared to compromise yourself and betray anyone.

Secret police agent Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) hasn’t learned these life lessons. He is determined to catch a serial killer who preys on young boys even when the Soviet system decides that the boys are all victims of tragic accidents. Leo’s psychopathic rival Vasili (Joel Kinnaman), tells him bluntly “There is no crime in Paradise.” Murder is strictly a Western, Capitalist disease.

To compound matters when Leo is asked to denounce his wife, Raisa (Noomi Rapace) as a traitor and Western spy he refuses. Predictably, and rapidly, Leo goes from hero to zero, stripped of his privileges, and sent to a posting in a dirty, polluted and bleak, back-of-beyond outpost.

Yet still Leo pursues the killer. He even manages to enlist Gen. Mikhail Nesterov (Gary Oldman) as an ally.

Child 44 works on a basic thriller level as we wonder whether Leo will bring the killer to justice or be blocked by Vasili and the Soviet System. It’s more than that though – it is a bleak indictment of a system that, just like Nazism, was anti-human – corruptive of all that is noble in the human spirit.

Child 44 is loosely based on the crimes of a real-life serial killer dubbed the Rostov Ripper in early 1950s Soviet Russia and adapted from the novel by Tom Rob Smith.

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