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Non-Review Review: All the Money in the World

All the Money in the World is an intriguing and uneven anthropological study of wealth.

Ridley Scott’s drama documenting the abduction of Paul Getty treats its subjects as members of a different species. In an introductory voice-over, the character of Paul Getty explains that the truly rich may as well come from “another planet.” They might look the same, but they are fundamentally different from ordinary people. At one point, John Paul Getty recalls an argument on how a publisher tried to change the title of his book from How to be Rich to How to Get Rich. Getty complains, “Getting rich is easy. Any fool can get rich. Being rich, that’s something else entirely.”

A Plum(mer) Role.

This idea simmers through All the Money in the World, the notion that there is something more than just a bank balance that separates the wealthy from the poor. “Money is never just money,” reflects advisor Fletcher Chase, and All the Money in the World suggests as much repeatedly. Throughout the film, journalists and paparazzi stalk the Getty family like wildlife photographers trying to snap a picture of some rare beast in its natural habitat. The Getty’s stand apart, and that sense of otherness is compounded by some measure beyond a balance in any account.

All the Money in the World is fascinating in its exploration of this idea, but it suffers from a lack of focus and clarity. All the Money in the World feels more like a series of vignettes than a single narrative story, a set of compelling sequences that never add up to a fulfilling whole. There is something intangible missing, as if the figures don’t quite add up. Then again, that flaw seems perfectly suited to the characters at the centre of the narrative.

Oil’s well that ends well.

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Neil Jordan at Trinity College

I had the great pleasure to pop along to a discussion with Neil Jordan hosted by the University Philosophical Society in Trinity College last night. I didn’t have a pen and paper handy, but I did make a few notes on the conversation which at least offer an interesting perspective or two from the Irish autuer. The Phil website normally has recordings of event up fairly promptly, so I’ll add a link to them soon. In the meantime, there are a few interesting thoughts in what the man said.

Irish film legend...

Irish film legend...

Gotta Get a Gilliam…

Apparently Terry Gilliam wants to work at Pixar. How incredibly awesome would that be? Even the concept is intriguing. I’m not as head-over-heels in love with Gilliam as most film fans seem to be (his output tends to fluctuate wildly in quality), but Brazil is quite possibly my favourite science fiction film ever. And I love science fiction. Anyway, I would have thought a major studio that is a subsidiary of possibly the largest and most influential entertainment conglomerate in the world would be the last place an auteur like Gilliam would be found.

Evidently, I was wrong.

Rawr! Gilliam's Gonna Get Ya!

Rawr! Gilliam's Gonna Get Ya!

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A Man’s Mann…

I have to confess I was not overly impressed with Public Enemies. In fairness, it was mostly down to the choices Mann made in filming the work – the high definition cameras and the insistence on shakey hand held movement. You might argue that it was a choice designed to place us in the real world of the Great Depression – to put us on the streets with Dillinger and immerse us in his world rather than the sanitised grandiose version of the 1930’s that typically finds its way on to our screens. This ignores one fundamental fact about Mann’s film making: it is no less grandiose or fantastic than those myths of times past. Mann is a film maker who works best exploring the dynamics of a masculine ideal that never existed. His male characters are drawn in the mold of a classic image that never actually existed.

I'll bet Pacino ordered the Large Ham. Overdone. VERY LOUDLY!

I'll bet Pacino ordered the Large Ham. Overdone. VERY LOUDLY!

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