Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella, Lily Rabe, Philip Baker Hall, Michael Esper, Diane Venora, Nick Offerman, Kristen Wiig, Stephen Kunken, John Cullum, Maggie Kiley, Liz Stauber, Marion McCorry, Mia Dillon
Written by: Marcus Hinchey, Marc Smerling
Directed by: Andrew Jarecki
MPAA Rating: R for drug use, violence, language and some sexuality
Running Time: 101
Date: 11/05/2010
IMDB

All Good Things (2010)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Missing the Marks

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director Andrew Jarecki gave us the brutally powerful dysfunctional family documentary Capturing the Friedmans (2003), and now turns his skills to his "based-on-a-true-story" feature film, his fiction debut.

David Marks (Ryan Gosling) is the son of a wealthy property owner (Frank Langella). He marries Katie (Kirsten Dunst), who is outside the family's social circle, and dreams of running a health food store. Eventually he succumbs to his father and goes to work for the family business, which begins a harrowing decline into violence and anxiety. Katie gets pregnant, but David refuses to become a father. They begin fighting, and eventually living separate lives. Before long, David becomes involved in a disappearance and two mysterious deaths. Will David be made to face the consequences of his life, or will he simply disappear?

Interestingly, Jarecki takes a kind of documentary approach to the material, narrating the tale with David Marks' court transcript and filling in the blanks with deduction and imagination. Unfortunately, the result is not particularly engaging. The material is relentlessly harrowing, and it's difficult to know just where the characters stand: David is shown to be slightly unhinged, and there's no one to root for. Additionally, Jarecki employs some fairly standard-issue thriller elements, such as jump-shocks and things hiding in the shadows, which seem unworthy of this story. It's difficult, ultimately, to discern the point of the movie, other than to comment on how depressing and futile it all is.

Magnolia's DVD includes a filmmaker's commentary track, but also another one with director Andrew Jarecki and the real-life Robert Durst. There are several other making-of and behind-the-scenes featurettes and some trailers.

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