All Good Things (Review)

ALL GOOD THINGS (12/03/10; Thriller)
Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella, Kristen Wiig, Philip Baker Hall, Diane Venora
SCR: Marcus Hinchey, Marc Smerling
DIR: Andrew Jarecki
MPAA: R for drug use, violence, language and some sexuality.
1 hour 41 mins
BOX: $557,115

In the 70s, David Marks (Gosling), an heir to a New York real estate fortune, begrudgingly takes a job with the firm to appease his arrogant father (Langella) and provide for his middle-class wife Katie (Dunst), who yearns for a child.

David’s still haunted by his mother’s death and eventually starts acting irrationally and violent, but she has to stay with him in order to be able to finish school, and earn eventual freedom. Then one day, she disappears.

Based on the real-life case of Robert Durst (who apparently liked the film), the events span nearly thirty years and cover a lot of ground. We know going in that it doesn’t end well. Director Jarecki does what he can to balance the family drama with the elements of a human tragedy, but the story proves too unwieldy for him and screenwriters Hinchey and Smerling to handle.

The disintegrating relationship between David and Katie is compelling but once we flash forward nearly twenty years, the entire movie falls apart and becomes absurd. Despite the movie devolving into a formless mess, the acting is quite good throughout. Dunst manages to nail the terror and frustration of her married life; Langella is good at playing an entitled bastard, but it’s his moments of warmth that resonate.

Most surprisingly, a brunette Wiig is solid in a dramatic role as Dunst’s confidante. But Gosling, despite a committed performance, can’t help but look ridiculous, especially when the movie requires him to masquerade as a blonde woman. (Magnolia)


Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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