All Good Things Reviews
Katie is a nice, attractive blonde who happens to fall in love with David Marks, the charming and handsome oldest son of Stanford Marks, a super wealthy real estate guru who owns half of Times Square. Thigns start off well enough for David and Katie, but then he feels pressured to give in to his father's wishes and do as he's expected by being a part of the family business instead of trying to live a normal life like the kind Katie is used to.
As time goes on, David becomes increasingly more moody, withdrawn and violent, and as the relationship really starts to decline, it all comes to a head when Katie disappears without a trace in 1982, with no conclusion ever being reached, which holds true to the story this is all based on.
The past few years have been dominated by Gosling, with him being a part of a number of films, in a variety of roles. This one is probably the darkest and creepiest of the bunch, and it is some very compelling and eerie stuff. This film has romance, but it's mostly a thriller, and I liked that.
It's not without it's faults though. At one point Katie says "I've never been closer to anyone, yet I know nothing about you!" or something along those lines. Well, that's how it is for the audience too. We really don't truly know all that much about David, or why he is the way he is, and does what he does. We get glimpses and clues, sure, but I'm not entirely convinced that even the director knows what to make of him. Also, and perhaps this is due to the fact that the real case is still unsolved, this just kidna ends without really much of a resolution, or at least a concrete one. However, even then, this still held my attention, and kept me glued to the screen, so hats off there.
Gosling is great as David. He's creepy, compelling, and you really aren't sure what he'll do next. As Katie, Kirsten Dunst is tremendous. This is a standout role for her, and it shows her taking some previously unwitnessed risks and direction with her career. She does great at playing troubled and scared, and she even briefly has her first nude scene. It's not much, but she looks good and gets through it just fine. Here's to hoping that, given the right part, she'll be willing to bare herself again in future films. Frank Langella is chilling and stunning as David's cold, powerful father. He's a jerk, yet he's not completely wrong with his views. He's flawed, but well rounded. It's also fun seeing Nick Offerman and Kristen Wiig make brief appearances playing against type, and seeing Philip BAker Hall banter about with Gosling was also a treat.
The film is a little unfocused and disjointed, but once it gets going, it's quite a ride that offers several moments of dread, atmosphere, and juicy mystery.
Kirsten Dunst and Ryan Gosling are both great here. I did feel that Kirsten really made this movie and it got duller once she disappeared, but still an interesting and creepy story. Really makes you pity what some women feel they have to put up with in a relationship.
"The Perfect Love Story. Until It Became The Perfect Crime."
I expected a lot from All Good Things, maybe a little too much. The story was intriguing and the film has Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst in it. The film is well acted by them, but their performances aren't enough to lift this film above watchable. The film is bleak and dark, and it should be, so it did get the mood right. But it was also extremely dull. I never felt suspense or even felt like director Andrew Jarecki wanted the viewer to feel anything towards the story.
The story is based on a true story. David is the son of a rich and successful man, but his life has been nothing great. He watched his mother jump to her death when he was seven years old and, as one would expect, it messed him up pretty severely. He meets Katie when he goes over to look at a sink leak in her apartment and they hit it off, and end up getting married. Neither of the couples families are ecstatic about the marriage, especially David's father. Then from there the plot goes from a loving couple to marital problems quickly. It never feels like the couple loved each other, even as David says how perfect Katie is.
I wouldn't go as far as to say the movie isn't well made because it is beautifully shot and the music is great. It is just that the overall feelings one should get from watching a movie about this subject is completely missing. After watching it, I was left feeling empty about this story. It wasn't chilling, but I could tell where it should have been. I never got a real feeling that Jarecki even cared about this subject. It seemed that he was just making it to kill some time or something.
It isn't totally worthless because nothing ever is, when it has either Gosling or Dunst. It is just disappointing because it never reaches a point where it feels like it should have gone.
The screen play seems to focus on all the wrong things, showing little artsy slices of life without any buildup or any attempt to give the audience any clue as to why Ryan Gossling's heir apparent, or his wife Kirsten Dunst behave in the manner they do (other than the childhood shock Gossling receives, which should have nothing to do with his change from what appears to be a regular guy, into some misanthropic freak).
I suppose you could take this in part as a father son drama - the dynamic is certainly there, but once again, when the emotional payoff comes, about 3/4 through the film, it seems overwrought and then gets left in the dust by the goofy last quarter which tries to tie in the court proceeding theme that begins the film.
The film starts nicely enough, giving "home movie" footage of the Marks family and hinting at something deeper under the surface, especially concerning Gossling's mother, and as the actual film begins there is a rather nice touch of a voiceover who is obviously an attorney, asking Gossling to "start at the beginning" and relate his childhood. While this is a nice touch, I don't believe that any jury would want to sit through hours (or days) of an alleged killer's recollections and reflections on his life.
But that backdrop gives the screenplay the opportunity to present the "facts", which, at least for a time, seem entertaining. You have Gossling as a seemingly regular guy who beholden to his father's vast fortune, is at his beck and call. He charms Dunst, who seems charming and real but somehow vague throughout, and they ultimately marry and move away from NYC and daddy's demands. They seem to have a nice, intimate, idyllic existence, but then things slide off the rails, both for the characters and the film. For reasons unexplained, Gossling succumbs to daddy's pressure and rejoins the firm in NYC. Next thing you know he's become standoffish and, as the film seems to unnecessarily focus on, both he and Dunst get into drugs - he pot and she coke.
Gossling becomes more and more bizarre, odd and wound too tight; taken to long periods of silent brooding, followed by outbursts of rage. Dunst wails that she had never been closer to a person, yet now seems to not know him at all. Just as the pair could have told daddy to take a hike and continue their quaint country lives, Dunst could have left Gossling, but for some reason (money, the film suggests, even though that seems to run totally against the character the film presents at the beginning of the film), she stays with him... until....
I'm not going to reveal what leads to the "case", but will comment that there are several roll your eyes in disbelief moments, some ridiculous pointless scenes and terrible pacing.
The end result is that the film squanders its solid beginning by wallowing in a puddle of pointless scenes where you become as disconnected with the characters and the film itself as the two main characters had become to not only each other, but themselves. I for one ended up not caring what happened to any of them. Director Andrew Jarecki sure made a mess out of this one, and he can't really blame the script as he was listed as co-writer.
A love story and murder mystery based on the most notorious unsolved murder case in New York history. The original screenplay uses newly discovered facts, court records and speculation as the foundation for a story of family, obsession, love and loss.
Here's a story that was dramatic in life and equally dramatic on paper, as a story pitch. What doesn't sound thrilling, in Hollywood terms, about a latent psychopath man, his aging older power hungry father, and a charming young innocent woman caught up in a struggle for happiness and wealth? And so "All Good Things" had all the right things to get going.
On top of that, the three actors are all excellent in their own ways, Ryan Gosling, Frank Langella, and Kirsten Dunst, respectively. What falters is something more subtle, some combination of screen writing (that magic of turning an idea into something concrete) and direction (that hard technical and aesthetic work of pulling it all off). It turns out that the screenwriters are both first timers, and the director has one other film to his credit, so there is probably a sense of figuring things out that is evident here. The movie lacks elegance, for sure, though it doesn't lack intensity at times, using well-worn but necessary tricks (girl arrives at night into dark room and man is waiting in shadows for her, etc.).
Not that this is a bad movie. The story itself grows and multiplies even as the characters remain somewhat thin. The one character who get complicated is the leading man, Gosling's David Marks, the troubled son who knows he's troubled and tries to hide it and eventually cannot.
You can ask of course deep questions about why this man turned so rotten, and the answer the film provides is that his father pushed him relentlessly in a dirty business rife with secrecy and power. That he didn't find salvation in the "perfect" Kirsten Dunst (who was never demanding, always supportive and loving, etc., to the point of simplicity) is part of his own tragedy. Ultimately this is a simple story about guy who, as his father said to his face, was a "weak man." And if this is a movie about a weak man being trapped by circumstances and therefore given a license to violence, it doesn't reveal or express those qualities in ways that would sway or disturb us. We are mostly reminded that it really happened, and that the guy is still out there selling real estate.
And that's true, it's not amazing at all, but it isn't bad. Really, I would go so far as to say that I found it incredibly engaging and enjoyable. The story kind of jumps from genre to genre and whenever it seems like it's going one direction to does a complete 180. That kind of bugged me, but then again, how often do we all complain about films being predictable? Overall, it's enjoyable enough to watch and definitely unduly overlooked.
The extent to which this story is true baffles me. Strange world we live in!!!
Director: Andrew Jarecki
Summary: After restless real-estate scion David Marks (Ryan Gosling) weds middle-class beauty Katie McCarthy (Kirsten Dunst) against the wishes of his disapproving father (Frank Langella), suspicions of murder fall on the unmoored heir when his wife mysteriously vanishes. Though he's not indicted in her disappearance, people with ties to the case begin turning up dead when it's reopened two decades later -- and the unhinged David is the prime suspect.
My Thoughts: "Murder, mystery, suspense, and a true story, a great line-up for one intense film. This is probably one of the stronger performances I have seen from Kirsten Dunst in quite some time. She was really good in the film. Ryan Gosling is a huge favorite of mine, and he continues to impress me with these types of roles he takes on and does great in them. The movie was intense for me throughout the film. I have been around someone similar to David, and it is always a ticking bomb waiting to go off. You never know what will set them off to explode. Their physically there, but you can see in their eyes that their not 'there' with you. David (Ryan) has that look a lot in this film. David Marks witnessed something awful as a child, and is what has obviously triggered his quiet, sometimes monstrous, disturbing behavior. The ending is unsatisfying, but that's only because Katie Marks was never found and you get no insight on what really happened to her. But of course you will feel David Marks is indeed guilty, especially since he is being tried for the murders of those who had ties to the case. It's a film worth seeing."
A love story and murder mystery based on the most notorious unsolved murder case in New York history. The original screenplay uses newly discovered facts, court records and speculation as the foundation for an imaginative spellbinding story of family, obsession, love and loss.
"All Good Things" has certain things going for it like restrained performances and the excellent period detail such as the good old days of 42nd Street. But man is this movie a hard slog to get through, for most of it. Nowhere does it say in depecting a miserable marriage that a movie also has to make the viewer just as unhappy. As inspired by a true story, the screenplay fails to make much of a case, either criminally or behaviorally, as it desperately seeks a simple explanation for David's behavior. Even more problematic than the script is the editing, as the last 30 minutes, bughouse as they are, are the only part that truly comes alive and should have been used as a springboard for briefly recalling David's past life, in a sort of, aren't you the guy whose... ?