The story of Jean Paul Getty is the stuff of fiction. Widely regarded as the world’s first billionaire earned through Saudi oil, he found his vast fortune in jeopardy in 1973 when his favorite grandson was kidnapped and held for ransom in Italy.

His response to the kidnapping was the shocking thing: a blatant and smug refusal to pay showed just how ruthless the man was, and just a glimpse of insight into the motivation of a man who, by all accounts, was as successful as they come. When asked how much money was enough to satiate his greed, he simply replied, “more.”

The film begins with a subtle narrative about the strained and almost estranged relationship between Getty and his son, John Paul Getty Jr. The younger marries Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) and they move to Italy when the patriarch extends nepotism and generously gives him the job of a lifetime running the European side of one of his oil companies.

Completely unqualified, and battling some demons of his own, John Paul Jr. predictably fails and disappears from the picture. Gail finds herself raising her son, John Paul Getty III on her own without the financial support of her father-in-law, but she never asks him for a handout. When the teenager is kidnapped, Gail pleads desperately for help, but is refused by the stingy old man. Enter Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg). An ex-CIA operative who does investigative work for the old man, he is tasked with getting the boy back as cheaply as possible. No easy task for a hostage situation when the ransom seekers know the pockets are deep.

Ridley Scott has been a master filmmaker for over 50 years now, going back to 1965. He’s crafted some of the most revered science fiction films of all time (“Alien,” “Blade Runner”), but he is also responsible for some of the more exciting action biopics and historical fiction films in recent memory (“Black Hawk Down,” “Gladiator,” “American Gangster”). With his current project, he takes on the 1970s in a way that hasn’t been done with this much suspense since Ben Affleck directed “Argo.” I know, you all forgot about Ben’s masterpiece, didn’t you? Anyhow, the most remarkable thing about this film is the controversy that has mired its release. Kevin Spacey originally played Getty, but was abruptly replaced with Christopher Plummer in late October, and all of his scenes were reshot when pedophilia charges came to light against Spacey. I would be surprised if he ever worked in Hollywood again.

Plummer is absolutely tremendous as the senior Getty. Circumstances of casting notwithstanding, he delivers his best performance since 2012’s “Beginners.” The 88-year-old has received all of his cinematic critical acclaim since turning 80, which is a rare and commendable feat.

If you watch closely, you can see the brilliance of the cut-and-paste editing, particularly in Plummer’s scenes. There are a lot of close ups, which adds pressure to his performance, and considering the nature of his character and the short time to prepare for the role, it is the finest supporting work of the year (sorry Sam Rockwell). Admittedly, I am curious how Spacey did before reshoots.

Michelle Williams is great as usual, but I wasn’t particularly blown away. Is this one of the better performances by an actress this year worthy of awards nomination? Certainly, but she wasn’t the star of the show. Mark Wahlberg may have been the wrong choice for his role, but maybe it fit better before Plummer joined as I suspect the tone and focus of the film may have looked a bit different. I would have liked a stronger dramatic actor with less action appeal; Maybe a Jason Clarke or Joel Edgerton type.

“All the Money in the World” is a suspenseful, well-acted drama that was a pleasant surprise and makes my 2018 Top 10 list for overall quality. This is definitely worth seeing, and I think you might find it more satisfying than you would initially think.