Inspired (it says) by real events and a book Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty by John Pearson.
In the future this movie may be better known for the fact that, after it was completed, Kevin Spacey, who had been accused of inappropriate sexual activity, was replaced by Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty, and all the related scenes were reshot. Mark Wahlberg received $1.5 million for the extra work, but Michelle Williams (apparently at her own request) was on a day rate. He subsequently donated his fee to the MeToo protest.
Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Timothy Hutton
In 1973 the 16 year old grandson of J. Paul Getty is kidnapped in Italy and held for ransom by a criminal gang. Since the young man’s father is a drug addict, the attempts to recover him fall to his divorced wife who must pursuade the famously stingy Getty to come up with the $17 million ransom. The old man refuses to pay, putting the young man’s life at risk. Will he change his mind when one of the son’s ears is received by a newspaper?
Scenes of the young man imprisoned in a variety of unpleasant environments. Just one exchange of gunfire. A lot of time spent with the mother and Getty, and the security advisor and Getty. A few flashbacks to indicate how the riches were made. The actual events lasted for months so the characters are required to fly between Italy and UK with bewildering frequency.
We enjoyed this quite a bit. Christopher Plummer is fantastic at 88. However, after seeing it, it is natural to turn to the real event to see how it went. Having done so, it is obvious that the script has taken considerable liberties in order to make the drama, well, dramatic. The boy’s father gets a bad press, and the boy himself actually had a much worse time than we see (apart from the ear business). It is not a earth shattering oeuvre, but well worth the ticket price.