Sweet romance drama turns into chilling character study.
Andrew Jarecki’s true crime drama All Good Things (2010) is a fascinating biopic on Robert Durst without using his name. Witness the chilling acts people are capable while still appearing normal on the outside. Check out All Good Things for engrossing crime stories without all the violence. I think it’s a shame critics panned All Good Things and audiences largely ignored this phenomenal film. I wish Jarecki could have used Robert Durst’s name for the film, but alas, everything he’s accused of herein is only alleged not convicted. Jarecki draws upon cold detective noirs like Zodiac as well as serial killer thrillers like Psycho to create a hauntingly warm atmosphere for All Good Things that eventually ends. Gentle and endearing romance drama quickly turns into toxic love, then something darker.
Andrew Jarecki’s direction is exemplary in how to tastefully depict a true crime story without violence, gore, or fetishing the heinous crimes of criminals. I’m sure audiences wanted violent murder, so all the drama was lost on them. Jarecki’s style is all indie arthouse drama with surreal flashes implying violence without ever having to show it. I appreciate his dedication to artful storytelling instead of relying on the brutality of murder. Jarecki’s a director with real vision for his film. All Good Things is 101 minutes of Michael Seresin’s dreamy cinematography that turn into nightmares.Rob Simonsen’s score is inspired and lovely. I hope he gets to direct more pictures.
Ryan Gosling is chilling as David Marks, a stand-in name for Robert Durst. He is so endearing, likable, and warm as the charming Marks that his turn into cold and disturbed Durst is frightening and enthralling. Likewise, Kirsten Dunst is gorgeous and dreamy as always, but her subtle acting conveys the deep sorrow and regret of her character Katie Marks. She is delightful and pleasant, so that you feel sympathy for what Katie goes through in All Good Things. Kirsten Dunst is my favorite actress of all time, so seeing her continue to deliver nuanced dramatic performances is no surprise for me. She is remarkable. Gosling and Dunst have real chemistry in All Good Things too that makes the subject matter so hard to bear.
Frank Langella is outstanding as the cold, estranged father to Gosling called Sanford Marks. He is all business and an infuriating father figure. Langella is excellent at conveying a father’s disappointment in his free willed son. Lily Rabe is wonderfully flirty and conflicted as Gosling’s friend Deborah Lehrman. Philip Baker Hall is fun as the lonely old man Malvern Bump, who is manipulated by the conniving Gosling character. Diane Venora is great as the corrupt lawyer that lets the case die. Nick Offerman is devastating as Katie’s brother Jim McCarthy. His tearful scene in the car is excellent. Kristen Wiig is hilarious and interesting as Katie’s cocaine addicted friend.
I have to mention Trini Alvarado as Katie’s kind friend Sarah Davis. It’s so nice to see her act again after her iconic performance in Little Women (1994).
In short, All Good Things is an underrated crime drama that I hope more audiences get to see.