Ridley Scott’s decision to remove Kevin Spacey in light of recent accusations/events and replace him with reshoots starring Christopher Plummer was a really good, if a mostly financially motivated, choice. Having said that, I don’t think that it would have made much difference as there are hardly any redeeming features about this film.
That being said, Christopher Plummer is the one really good thing about this film as the incredibly focussed and driven John Paul Getty (who I never realised was, at the time, richer than anyone has ever been before. Quite a statement). He plays the character with a real zeal for knowing a deal and when to push harder to sway anything and everything in his favour. Always working and in complete control over everything that he touches. But even this had the air of familiarity, of being derivative. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it all felt very similar in tone to another role that I have seen somewhere: Rich and totally driven, casting aside friends and family for a pursuit of wealth. Michelle Williams is probably the next best thing as Gail Getty, married into the family through JP’s estranged son (JP had no time for family affairs when there was money to be made) although she wasn’t as strong as I have seen her and her British accent slipped from time to time through the film. Mark Wahlberg is Mark Wahlberg. Pretty much what he does in every other film, although there is less ass-kicking and guns in this one, he is still a cock-sure professional who manages to save the day in the end or end up on the right side at the final curtain.
A kidnap story should be able to provide some nerve-shredding moments as you are brought in and fear for the wellbeing of the kidnappee, but somehow this doesn’t manage that. With no real tension supplied throughout, it all falls a bit flat, even the ending (which I am assuming was supposed to be a big culmination of angst and emotion) never managed to raise the heart-rate at all. In fact, there is really only one moment that provoked a reaction out of me and the rest was entirely underwhelming.
To be fair, I hadn’t heard anything about this film before going in besides the reshoot fee fiasco and now that I’ve seen it I can maybe understand why there hasn’t been more said about it. It is disappointing that this is a Scott film as, in the past, he has had some hugely well received and respected films under his name but with this, alongside the recent Alien Covenant and Exodus, it appears that he has lost his golden touch. The Martian is the only recent film that I thoroughly enjoyed but even that was almost a direct representation of what happens in the book.