Based on the true story of the disappearance of Kathleen Durst, renamed Katherine Marks in the film, All Good Things is a fantastic thriller. Although the real life crime was never solved, the film does it’s best to point fingers in the most obvious direction without ever coming right out and declaring anything.
Ryan Gosling stars as David Marks, heir to a very large real estate empire. Reluctant to follow in his father’s footsteps, David meets Katie (Kirsten Dunst) and decides to open a health food store. Eventually, his father convinces him that Katie deserves better, so David joins the family business. As the marriage between David and Katie starts to fall apart, David becomes abusive. When Katie suddenly disappears, suspicion is placed on David, but nothing ever comes of it. Years later, the case is reopened, causing David to run and leading to a shocking conclusion.
Both Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst deliver strong performances, even if they aren’t really stretching what we’re used to. Dunst spends a majority of the film looking hungover and depressed, while Gosling looks like he’s playing the same character that he had in Blue Valentine. They may be sticking to a typical character, but both actors do it so well that viewers can’t complain. Adding to the cast is Frank Langella as David’s father. You can tell the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in that family, and Langella is outstanding in his role.
As usual, truth is stranger than fiction, and All Good Things embraces that notion. As a child, David watched his mother jump from the roof of their home. This leads to some serious problems for David which seep into his own marriage. Suddenly, he’s violent with his wife, the dog goes missing, there’s a missing persons case involving his wife, and then he’s running to Texas and pretending to be a mute woman. Before the film ends, we’re left with two more dead bodies and a string of strange coincidences that nobody can fully explain. In reality, Robert Durst was never convicted in the disappearance of his wife, and it’s still considered a missing persons case. The film sticks to the facts while offering an opinion on what happened. It’s ambiguous enough to stay away from blaming David for his wife’s disappearance, but it really looks as though he’s guilty.
Even more strange is the fact that the film has a commentary with Robert Durst. That must be the ultimate combination of real life crime and film. The film certainly doesn’t paint the nicest picture of Robert Durst, yet he agrees to do a commentary with the director. I can’t imagine how that all worked out, but it’s certainly a bonus feature I’ll be checking out in the future.
It’s that great blend of truth and fiction that really captures the viewer. If true crime shows are something you’re interested in, you can’t get much closer than this. When you start thinking about how all of this really happened, that’s the moment that you can’t leave the edge of your seat. It also helps that Gosling is so good at playing this kind of extremely intense character. When David runs to Texas and begins dressing like a woman, things become even more strange. At this point, Gosling begins exploring some territory that is less familiar, although his role in Drive plays pretty close to what’s happening here. A true crime story has never been quite as interesting or entertaining as it is with All Good Things.
Under the marquee – Will