The trouble with ALL GOOD THINGS starts in the title. We know full well from the very onset of Andrew Jarecki’s first narrative film that the loveliness we are lavished in to begin with will inevitably disappear. After all, the old adage is pretty clear about good things; they must at some point come to an end. And so we watch the happy couple meet, fall in love and run away together, out from under the thumb of an oppressive family and off the road that would lead to nothing but heartache, waiting for the moment where everything turns Fortunately, the turns it takes are unexpected and worse that you would imagine.
If you are familiar with the life of Robert Durst, the millionaire heir to a real estate fortune who stood trial for one murder and was suspected in his life of two others, then you might have a very good idea of what to expect. ALL GOOD THINGS is loosely based on his life and he is portrayed in the film by Ryan Gosling, renamed David Marks. Ideally cast, Gosling is able to play happy yet hesitant and transition smoothly to unnerving and disconcerting without blinking, catching us all as off guard as his co-star, Kirsten Dunst. She plays his wife, Katie Marks, who went missing in the 80’s after their relationship became abusive and she threatened to leave. As solid as Gosling is, he is outdone by Dunst, who is surprisingly subtle and has a strong grasp on how internalized the plight of a battered spouse truly is. As facile as the execution of the film is at times, their performances give it the weight needed to pull it off.
Jarecki is the Oscar-nominated director on CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS, a truly disturbing documentary about a family with secrets so dark they should only be shared with those strong enough to face the atrocities man is truly capable of. It would seem a natural fit for him to take on one of the most infamous family dramas in American history but he never gets to the real root of the issues. The ugly truth worked for him before but here, Jarecki is either afraid of it or just not aware of it. Either way, ALL GOOD THINGS comes to its own end, proving that the proverb doesn’t just apply to things that are good.