Arts & Entertainment

'All Good Things:' Pretty People with Problems

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Reel Reviews
Movie: “All Good Things”: Pretty People with Problems
April 11, 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Murderers tend to become a sick fascination to the general public once they are splashed all over the 24 hour news stations and magazines. From Charles Manson to Ted Bundy there are plenty of notorious killers, but there are also the lesser known ones that fall through the cracks over time. “All Good Things” tells the inspired by a true story tale of love, wealth and murder.

Born into a life of wealth and privilege, David Marks (Ryan Gosling, “Half Nelson”) wants nothing to do with the family real estate business that he is to inherit from his father Sanford (Frank Langella, “Frost/ Nixon”). His family owns half of Manhattan, including some properties that operate less than reputable businesses out of them while the family collects under the table, and on one of his routine landlord runs Mark meets middle class Katie (Kirsten Dunst, “Spider Man Trilogy”). They fall in love quickly and eventually marry and move to Vermont where they run a small whole foods store; both are content.

When Sanford demands that Mark take his rightful place in the family business, the young couple’s relationship begins to unravel, turning abusive and obsessive. Secrets are revealed, damaging decisions are made and, after a night of tense fighting, Katie disappears. Twenty years go by and Katie’s missing persons case is reopened with Mark having to take the witness stand and answer for his decisions.

“All Good Things” weaves a damaging story of the stronghold families can exact over people, of the dangers when the line between of love and obsession blurs and the brutality that can come when emotions and memories are not dealt with in a healthy environment. The performances throughout the film are exceptionally well done and there is not one weak link in the cast. Gosling’s swing from content, newlywed to cold and calculating suspected killer is interesting to watch as the difference between the two is imperceptible. Dunst gives one of the best performances of her career as the never quite accepted middle class daughter-in-law. The disparity between her character when she is interacting with her husband and his family and with her own family is so markedly different that you have to feel for her and her situation and Dunst pulls is off genuinely.

One of the strong points of the film is its creation of atmosphere. Aside from the perpetual stormy weather the film has, there is a near constant level of unsettling tension that drives home the uncomfortable and unbalanced lives and stability the characters have.

The flaws in the film, chiefly its slower pacing and supposition of what may have actually happened involving the disappearance and probable murder of Katie, can easily be swept aside for the enjoyment of the film. There are certainly better films along the same lines (“Zodiac” comes to mind), but “All Good Things” is a fine addition to the genre, but nothing overwhelmingly special or new.               

“All Good Things” is rated R for drug use, violence, language and some sexuality and runs 101 minutes. It is available on Netflix Instant.

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