KIDNAPPED: THE GRANDSON OF 'RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD'
By Margaretta wa Gacheru (4 April 2018)
‘All the money in the world’ is the Hollywood film whose director Ridley Scott hastily replaced Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) with Christopher Plummer (of ‘Sound of Music’ fame) in the leading role of J. Paul Getty, the ‘richest man in the whole world’.
The replacement came because of the Spacey scandal in which he was discovered to be a pedophile, preferring little boys to girls. Once that was known, he became persona non grata in Tinsel Town. But Plummer was a better fit for the part anyway.
J. Paul Getty was indeed the richest man in the world thanks to his being a wheeler dealer who made the deal of a lifetime. It was with Saudi Arabian sheikhs in the 1950s to extract oil and then transport it to the West by constructing the first supertanker.
He made his fortune in the process, according to his grandson Paul Junior (Charlie Plummer) who relates his elder’s story audibly, even as the film has just shown him being kidnapped in Rome.
Paul Jr. explains he grandfather wasn’t just the ‘richest man in the world’; he was the richest man in human history, being the world’s first billionaire.
What the kidnappers don’t know is that Getty’s a greedy capitalist who can’t spare a penny to meet the ransom fee of $17 million, one million for every year of the boy’s life. Not even for a grandson.
Junior has been estranged from his granddad ever since his parents divorced, his father having turned into a druggie and his mom (Michelle Williams) gaining custody of the Getty kids, which J. Paul resents as he’s got a megalomanic complex and doesn’t like the fact that she controls ‘his’ grandchildren.
What he does do is employ Fletcher Chace (Mark Wahlberg), a former CIA agent who’s already in his employ, to find the boy and bring him home. When he doesn’t succeed, it’s up to Junior’s unrelenting mother Gail to figure out how to retrieve her son.
Gail is penniless but proud and disinclined to beg her father-in-law for the ransom. He finally offers to loan her the money, but even that comes up short. His greed is boundless and he even tells Chace, the only thing that could make him feel ‘secure’ and unafraid of losing his fortune is ‘more!’
Ironically, the film is set in the early 1970s, right when OPEC is being established by oil countries so they can finally control of their own oil.
I won’t tell whether Junior escapes the kidnappers or who they are. Nor will I tell how relations between Chace and Gail ensue. Nor will I say what becomes of J. Paul Getty.
The one fact I will reveal is that Getty set up his fortune so he wouldn’t ever pay taxes to his government. Instead, he bought fine art! Lots and lots of art.
His beneficiaries ultimately established the Getty Museums in Los Angeles and Malibu.
It’s a fabulous film revealing the jaded psychology of the super-rich who love money more than family or life itself. That was J. Paul Getty.