Pin It
Favorite

All Good Things 

Ryan Gosling is too pretty to be a serial killer.

click to enlarge art16403.jpg

Inspired-by-a-true-story stories usually carry several weaknesses. Real life doesn’t follow the classic rising-action/falling-action formula. And stories of an entire life are so dense that compressing them into a few hours often eliminates the chance for greater meaning.

Biopics often turn into clumps of free-floating vignettes.

All Good Things focuses on Robert Durst, the mentally ill son of a wealthy real estate developer, and the three murders he may have committed. In 1982, his wife disappeared. Eighteen years later, his friend was found murdered. in 2001, Durst killed — and chopped up — his elderly neighbor. (A jury said it was a case of self-defense followed by a panic reaction.)

All Good Things isn’t quite a biopic, but it’s cursed with the same problems. Names are changed, for example, and so are some of the facts. Ryan Gosling plays the mentally deteriorating killer, and Kirsten Dunst plays his doomed wife. And from the standpoint of acting alone, the casting’s perfect: Gosling has made his reputation playing dark, twitchy hunks, while Dunst’s infectious charm makes her fate all the more tragic.

But in historical based-onactual-events stories, star power is a detriment. You’re supposed to be thinking, “this is Katie Durst, who disappeared mysteriously,” not “hey, it’s Spiderman’s girlfriend.”

Other distractions abound.Time-lapse photography, pseudo-’70s camcorder footage and overlapping dialogue all make the movie more entertaining but less affecting. The score (loud, dramatic piano music) and the effects (pelting rain, tilted camera angles) hammer home that certain scenes, yes, are tragic or scary.

The early scenes, when Gosling is comparatively lucid and his tics are more subtle, excel. But later on, as Gosling gets weirder and starts making odd, contorted gestures, he forfeits credibility. In his old-man makeup, Gosling becomes less of a character and more of a circus freak. The film’s attempt to understand the psychology of this probable killer disappears.

The final 30 minutes turn almost into a montage, rapidly skimming across the details of Durst’s life. All Good Things gives us a box of fancy jigsaw pieces without ever taking the time to assemble them into a meaningful picture. (Rated R)

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Gun Show
  • Gun Show

    Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are armed and dangerous in the true story War Dogs
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • Master of Puppets
  • Master of Puppets

    Kubo and the Two Strings is a gorgeous, if conventional, epic journey
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • Meat is Murder
  • Meat is Murder

    Sausage Party puts the gross in grocery store
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Colvin & Earle

Colvin & Earle @ Bing Crosby Theater

Wed., Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Daniel Walters

Most Commented On

  • Still Celebrating

    Boy George and Culture Club paved the way for genre- and gender-bending rock stars
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Film


Review


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Behind the Music
  • Behind the Music

    The Grammy Awards are about much more than what you see on TV
    • Feb 11, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation