Movie Review Rewind: All Good Things (2010)
All Good Things is fiction, however, based on a true story about a notorious unsolved disappearance/murders in New York. The film is intriguing and captivates your thinking process on what is true and what is not when it comes to the murders and a woman’s disappearance. You really never find out the truth, but neither did the actual people involved. Director Andrew Jareki may have changed the names but the story remains haunting and leaves everyone guessing.
Ryan Gosling plays David Marks, an heir to a real estate empire ran by his father Sanford Marks (Frank Langella). But David is not interested in the family business and wants no part of it. His father is not happy about it. And when David meets Katie (Kirsten Dunst), his father is against it because she is a “commoner,” which makes David even more attracted to her. They fall in love and marry, and open a natural food store called “All Good Things” in Vermont.
Their fairy tale romance begins to fade once David finally ends up taking a job under his father in the city. David has a lot of problems and a dark side that Katie never knew about and once it is revealed, it is too late. Physical and mental abuse begins to happen, and she hides the pain by using drugs and in 1982, Katie disappears and she remains a Missing Persons case to this day.
The film begins in 1971 and goes through 2003. The bulk of this film is about how David and Katie meet and events that lead up to her disappearance. But there is more. His best friend, Deborah Lehrman (Lily Rabe), is found murdered (execution style) years later right before she is going to be interviewed by the police after Katie’s case had been re-opened almost 20 years later.
All Good Things is the unwrapping of a violent and mysterious guy who is disturbed and comes from a family with a dark past. And those who got in the way paid for it. And the terrific performances by Gosling and Dunst really bring this film and the marriage alive. They both play people who seemed to have it all, but whose lives are actually spiraling out of control.
Gosling digs deep to play almost two opposite people. David could be a loving husband and a sweet guy with good intentions. Then there was this other side to him that made him an unpredictable and violent guy. And the longer Katie and David stayed married, the more she realized how unstable he was. The film makes us believe his mental problems started after he witnessed his mother commit suicide at seven years old. I guess that could do it.
Dunst has not done much in recent years. But, she still has it and it shows in her portrayal of Katie. She is a medical student trying to make it on her own, but David and drugs begin to bring her down. She seems to eventually give up. Perhaps there was real love between David and Katie, but it slowly dies when things keeping getting worse and never better. Katie suffers as well. It is just differently than David. Dunst pours herself into showing the struggle Katie faces when it comes to her husband she thought she knew.
There are some nice supporting roles in the film. Mainly Langella as David’s disapproving and frigid father and Philip Baker Hall as David’s neighbor who ends up being killed by David in self-defense. Or at least that is what he told the court. And after the disappearance of his wife and the murder of his best friend, David was only convicted of his neighbor’s murder. But, it wasn’t for actually killing him. It was because of how he got rid of the body (and I will let you see that for yourself).
How one man can get away with so much is the question you may ask yourself after seeing All Good Things. Was it because of his family name or having friends in high places? Perhaps he did it all and was just really good at covering it up. Or maybe, just maybe, he really is innocent. Maybe he is telling the truth about everything. We do not know and probably never will. But Jareki makes his film into a deep and thrilling murder mystery with some very interesting and mysterious players.
Gosling and Dunst are the best players in the game.
“Nature Boy” Brandon Vick is the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and star of Brandon’s Box Office In Your Mouth. Follow him on Twitter@SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.