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All Good Things
BLU-RAY disk
04.15.2011 By: Jaci Selby
All Good Things order download
Director:
Andrew Jarecki

Actors:
Kirsten Dunst
Ryan Gosling
Frank Langella

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The notorious true crime story of the disappearance of Kathie McCormack Durst, with names and details changed. A doomed romance between David and Katie Marks ends when Katie goes missing and the disturbed and unstable David is a suspect
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This movie creeped the hell out of me. It had that same uncomfortable and tense feeling as ZODIAC. It's as if someone, somewhere, had left their tv on and you could only just barely hear the static. Enough to put you on edge and raise the hairs on the back of your neck. It's not a typical murder suspense film where the killer is lurking in the shadows ready to jump out. The killer is in the foreground, well-lit and actually pretty infamous.

Ryan Gosling portrays David Marks well, trying to develop the many layers of his character with the time allotted. There are several personalities to Marks, the adoring husband, the obedient son, the traumatized victim, and even the cross-dressing sociopath. Kirsten Dunst plays Catherine (Katie) McCarthy Marks, a thinly veiled portrayal of the still-missing McCormack. Dunst has great range here, from initial effervescence to broken defeat. This is a famous true crime story, so I don't think I'm guilty of any spoilers here when I say that she disappears halfway through the movie. Once her presence is gone, the film takes on such a different tone that it's almost an entirely different movie. Frank Langella is dead-on as the manipulative Marks patriarch. Surprisingly, the best performances are by supporting actors. Kristen Wiig brings it as Katie Marks' closest girlfriend. You'd think that such a dark and tragic story should be devoid of comic relief, but she's so believable as the sarcastic and funny friend that it works. In fact, not only does it work, its welcome in this tense and sad story. Also fantastic are Lily Rabe as David Marks' best friend Deborah, and Philip Baker Hall as an unhinged companion in the second act of the film.

The story, while unhappy, is fascinating. There is definitely some ambiguity in the storyline though, that I assume was intentional. (I said "Wait, what was that about?" more than once) Since the crime has never been solved, there is also what I assume is liberty taken with several scenes. One issue I had was that of the main score played throughout. Despite being suspenseful and dramatic, I felt it was too much. More like a soundtrack for a scary ride at a theme park or a puzzle-solving video game. The tone is dark and unnerving, with implied and obvious violence. The color and look are muted and reflective of the time period, as if looking through old Polaroids. I pride myself on seeing twists coming a mile away, but there were quite a few turns that surprised me here.

THE EXTRAS
Commentary: with Andrew Jarecki, Marcus Hinchey and Marc Smerling, the director and co-writers/co-producers. Also a commentary track with Robert Durst, whom the film is based on.

Truth in Fiction: The filmmakers explain the work that went into researching the true crime story. "Triangulating" accounts from two or three different sources in order to piece together what really happened. They admit that they don't know what really happened, but strived to put together what may have happened and hope to give closure to those affected by the tragedy. Gosling also talks about the personality of his character and the real-life Robert Durst.

Back In Time: Researching The Original Story: True life accounts from friends and family of Kathie and Bob Durst. Pretty interesting and compelling, and plays like a true crime documentary.

Deleted Scenes: Two or three scenes that actually make the story a bit more confusing as they aren't really explained fully.

Interview with Andrew Jarecki: Jarecki discusses the importance of truly researching the real story as opposed to just reading one or two books about it. He talks about how important the real life witnesses and court transcripts were to developing this film. He also goes into detail about the relationship between the two main characters both in reali life and in the film. This does drag on for a bit and tends to be repetitive.

Aging Ryan: A behind-the-scenes look at how make-up artists aged Ryan Gosling. I have to say this is one of the best aging of an actor I've ever seen. Both for Gosling and Rabe's characters.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
While I don't think this is a snuggle-on-the-couch-and-drink-hot-cocoa type of movie, it would do well in a crime or mystery movie marathon. The loose ends aren't tied up though, reinforcing the uneasiness and suspense of the movie's tone. While I couldn't look away from this story, I also needed about 4 episodes of Family Guy before I could go to bed afterward. An intense thriller and all the more creepy when you remember it is based on actual events.
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