I hadn’t really heard much about this film before the Kevin Spacey scandal which led to his subsequent removal from the project. His replacement was Christopher Plummer and although he did a good job with what he was given, I think Kevin Spacey would have been more menacing.
Synopsis (spoiler free)- This is based on a true story and I know many people will already be aware of the events but before watching it I wasn’t so I will leave this synopsis spoiler free. John Paul Getty at the time the film is set was the richest person ever to live and therefore made him a target for his money. When his grandson is taken hostage and he refuses to pay the ransom of 17 million dollars for his release the film develops to unfold the story of his kidnapping.
Positives- I liked the premise of this film and as it’s content is true therefore this made it more tense in the tense moments. I felt that generally the tension was built in a way that engaged me and this made for a largely interesting view experience. I like how, to me, the plot seemed ambiguous and allowed the audience to infer different ideas from the same plot line. Moreover I liked that from talking to other people who watched the film seeing what they got out of it and how it was different to what I did. Finally Michelle Williams as Gail Getty is fantastic.
Negatives- There were lots of negatives in this film and this really surprised me as I expected it to be much better than it actually was.
1) It was too long- I like long films and Molly’s game, which had a seven minute longer running time, was a fantastic film. However, this film did not need such a long time to tell its story and at points left me to believe that I was listening to the hostage negotiations in real time.
2) Lack of focus- Films with multiple story lines or time periods are exciting however instead of this film being the same everything felt unfinished and rushed even though there was soo much. Instead of it focusing on soo many things at once; it could have been slower following less content in more detail.
3) Lack of belief- A lot of the main plot points in the film were not well delivered which at times left me increasingly confused. Moreover I felt that Christopher Plummer as John Paul Getty was too nice and made me think at too many points that he would pay the ransom which ruined the film for me. In this sense I think Kevin Spacey would have done a better job in the role as he has more experience play cold villain in a modern setting recently in ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Baby Driver’. (Although I completely agree with the decision to remove him from the project.)
Conclusion- I thought the film was okay. It didn’t wow me however I can’t say that it really disappointed as an overall product.