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Greed trumps family in ‘All the Money in the World’

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Michelle Williams worries over her kidnapped son in All the Money in the World.
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Three and a half stars

All the Money in the World Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg. Directed by Ridley Scott. Rated R. Opens Monday citywide.

A gang of thugs connected to organized crime kidnap a teenager and hold him for ransom in All the Money in the World, but the movie’s real villain is ruthless billionaire J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), who in 1973 flatly refused to pay any money for the return of his grandson J. Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer). Ridley Scott’s slick, tense film about the real-life kidnapping saga is sometimes overly concerned with laying out every detail of the case (even if some of those details are fictional), but it features a number of taut, suspenseful set pieces and strong performances from Michelle Williams and the elder Plummer (whose work is even more remarkable given that he was a last-minute replacement for the ousted Kevin Spacey).

Young Paul’s mother Gail (Williams) would do anything to get her son back, but she can’t convince her former father-in-law to part with a single dime. Instead he sends former CIA agent Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to find and retrieve Paul, a tactic that proves mostly ineffective. Chase’s skills and Wahlberg’s performance are both somewhat superfluous, but the central battle of wills between Gail and Getty is fascinating. Scott captures it all with a gray color palette that creates a feeling of claustrophobia, with Getty’s immense riches keeping his relatives trapped just as effectively as any kidnapper can.

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