The most sensational celebrity kidnapping this side of Patty Hearst become this year’s most controversial movie. J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) was the richest man that ever lived. What shocked the world more than the actual kidnapping and subsequent unharboring of his grandson’s (Charlie Plummer) ear was gramp’s famously unfavorable response to the ransom demand of $17 million. Even with Christopher Plummer’s superb job of bottom-of-the-ninth, out-of-the-park pinch-hitting as John Paul Getty, Ridley Scott needed more than just a Kevin Spacey substitute to keep it from drifting off into the land of poor relations. As Fletcher Chance, the ex-CIA operative-turned-paid-fixer who had Getty’s ear, Mark Wahlberg’s performance is a wooden diving board off which Michelle Williams and Plummer execute faultless gainers. What it packs in performances it lacks in vision. After about an hour, the film begins its flagrant fictionalization of facts for dramatic purposes followed by a slow and steady deceleration into formula and all the money in the world can’t save it. (2017) — Scott Marks
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