First Hit: An interesting and slow moving detailed story giving light as to why it took so long get John Paul Getty III released.
I was curious about the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (played by Charlie Plummer) when it happened. He was imprisoned by Italian mob kidnappers for almost 6 months before he was released.
At age 16 and part of the wealthiest family on earth at the time, the kidnappers thought this would be an easy way to extort $17M dollars from the Gettys. The kidnappers believed that because this amount of money was small pittance to J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), the boy’s paternal grandparent, it would be an easy score.
However, as the film points out, J. Paul Getty had no intention to pay any amount for anyone in his family that was kidnapped for ransom. J. Paul believed that people were not reliable and that the only things that were reliable were physical things, like paintings, buildings, sculptures, and other such things. The man was a focused miser.
When the kidnappers contact John Paul’s mother Gail Harris, she said she had no money and couldn’t pay the ransom. Her former husband John Paul Getty II (Andrew Buchan) was a drug addled and addicted person. He was little and no use to either his former wife Gail or his father J. Paul.
Paul assigned Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to find his grandson and help control Gail. However, the persistence of the kidnappers was extraordinary and only after sending Gail one of John Paul’s ears did J. Paul decide to assist a little.
The scenes inside J. Paul’s home was very reflective of his miserly ways. Lights were kept low and the coldness of the interior rooms was a perfect representation of the coldness in his heart and the disdain he had towards his family. The ultimate knife in the heart moment was when he finally agreed to spend some money to free his grandson, but he wanted full and complete custody of all Gail’s children and would only spend an amount that was tax deductible to free the boy.
The oppressive and obnoxious paparazzi were properly represented and displayed the low life jobs and intentions they make money from. The cold heartedness of the kidnappers and the obedience of their womenfolk was sad to witness. I kept wondering where was the compassion and the passion for which Italians are also noted?
Williams was strong in this role. Her intelligence and clear focus of what her priorities were was signified the difference between her and the family she married in to. Wonderful performance. Wahlberg was good as the man who wanted to serve both the man who paid him, J. Paul, and the needs of Gail. Christopher Plummer was fantastic. Although I occasionally wondered how the original actor, Kevin Spacey, would have done the part, Plummer’s physical presence, age, and acting abilities were sublime. Charlie Plummer was good as the privileged kidnapped grandson. Romain Duris as one of the abductors, Cinquanta, was excellent. He realized over time that he cared about John Paul’s welfare. David Scarpa wrote the script. The story and storyline was excellent but the execution by director Ridley Scott was un-inviting which made it difficult to care about the characters.
Overall: This film was more interesting than engaging and I must commend Scott for the seamless way he replaced Spacey with Plummer in a month’s time.