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All The Money In The World is based on one of history’s most wealthiest person in the world J. Paul Getty, and the case of his most favourite grandchild John Paul Getty III - kidnapping back in the 1970s.
There are a few things you find-out that were not well-known about J. Paul Getty portrayed very well by Christopher Plummer, like the fact that he built-up his megabucks empire by not paying taxes - as his empire was actually a charitable trust formed in 1953.
Also he didn’t have any contact with his son, due to the fact he [J. Paul Getty] thought that having a family around would hamper his ‘concentration’ ‘motivation’ and ‘ambition’ of making his Getty Oil Corporation the most profitable company in the world, thus the fact he became the most wealthiest person in his time.
The film centres mostly on the kidnapping of J.Paul Getty’s grandson John Paul Getty III, but interludes the history of J. Paul Getty in the middle of the Arabian desert seeking the best plot for oil exploration. However we have to remember that in the 1920s seeking oil and gas didn’t have all of the modern technology - scanning and sonar equipment we have today. Back then they used geologists to ‘help’ locate oil and gas but many businessmen and companies lost their fortunes by not finding oil and gas in the spots they picked.
The mere fact J.Paul Getty actually found oil and gas in the first place was good luck back then. But to his credit he learnt Arabic which he could barter for the ‘best possible price’ that was a trademark J. Paul Getty became well known for - being economical with money.
The reunion of his son John Paul Getty actually happened because his wife Gail Harris excellent performance by Michelle Williams prompted him to contact his father whom she didn’t really understand who J. Paul Getty was.
Once father and son reunite then the fortunes changed for the John Paul Getty’s side of his family as he became a prominent employee of the Getty Oil Company. Though this led to trouble as J. Paul Getty always hated people expecting him to ‘pay’ or ‘give’ money.
Thus John Paul Getty III eventually becoming a victim of his wealthy grandfather to the local Mafia criminals in Italy who liked extracting money through kidnapping and extortion.
The story then starts to hit peak form as the now divorced Gail Harris has to come up with ways to get her son back alive and in one piece; and the only place she knows to get the ransom money is from J. Paul Getty. But J. Paul Getty is very economical with money, and then some will hold their breath when J. Paul Getty isn’t so forthcoming with ransom money. But in one way he explains in front of the cameras that descended on his palatial English country estate - Sutton Place.
Amongst all of the chaos you end-up finding that J. Paul Getty is trying to out-play his grandsons mother Gail Harris, whom he thinks wants his money like so many other people. But she doesn’t want anything and you can see this confuses J. Paul Getty and in a way he’s met his match - because the one thing he’s got is money and if a person cannot be bought then what else is there to have a hold over someone - as he always battled people on the issue of money.
When the film ends you get the sense that J. Paul Getty may have been the most wealthiest person of his time but he was enslaved by his wealth both emotionally as all of his marriages ended and didn’t have long lasting relationships with his children and the fact he couldn’t spend his wealth due to having his money locked in a charitable trust - instigated by his mother back in the 1920s and ‘30s.
Also on the part of Gail Harris she didn’t want anything, but in the end she controlled the Getty Trust, which goes to show you that J. Paul Getty actually admired the fact that there was one person who didn’t want his wealth!
“J. Paul Getty was the most wealthiest man in history. But only one person wasn’t interested in his wealth, only her child”
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All The Money In The World