At the time oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, was the world’s richest man, but refused to hand over $17 million demanded, even though it represented little more than small change to him.
Although he professed to love his grandson, it seems he loves his money more, finally agreeing under duress to loan his daughter-in-law the money after kidnappers threaten to return the boy in pieces.
The action unfolds as the 17-year-old is dragged into a van while walking on the streets of Rome.
He’s been kidnapped by the Ndrangheta — a Mafia-like crime syndicate and secret society based in Calabria.
They demand $17 million for the return of the boy.
But his mother, Gail Harris, is unable to pay the ransom, as she waived any alimony in exchange for full custody of her children when she divorced John Paul Getty Jr., in 1971 — after he became hopelessly addicted to drugs.
It’s a low key kind of film, but the depiction of billionaire Getty is a fascinating one.
Plummer’s performance paints him as single-minded, devoted to the accumulation of wealth to the exclusion of all else.
His obsession is such that he may have even been on the autistic spectrum.
Plummer received received an Academy award nomination for best supporting actor.
Despite earlier statements, Scott claimed Plummer had been his original choice for the role.
Spacey still appears in one wide shot that would have been too complex or expensive to re-shoot before deadline; the scene where Getty disembarks from a train in the desert — but Spacey’s face is not visible.