All Good Things come to an end – yep, they do and in this case, mayyybe(?)Ryan Goslings recent hot streak!
This supposed horror-chiller is one of those movies that really should be far better with a complex true story and a strong supporting cast of Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella and Kristen Wiig.
Gosling plays David Marks, the real life son of a rich Manhattan property developer (Langella) who no longer wants to be part of the family business. He hooks up with Dunst to fatherly disapproval, but all seems well until his mental issues, brought about by a traumatic childhood event, start messing up what looks likely to be a lovely coupling.
Starting off well with small nuggets and suggestions of latent psychosis and daddy issues, a slow build suggests an intriguing murder mystery to come – but it never really gets there, mis-stepping the most in not evolving into the horror a bloodied poster and sub-lines would have believe.
Based on a high profile New York court case it could be forgiven for sticking to the source, but the lack of development of drama and frights makes this all very tame, petering into something quite routine. Borrowing heavily from others thoughts turn to the similar unsolved rich family murder mystery of ‘Dragon Tattoo, but that’s where the comparison of quality ends as it’s clichéd, clumsy and uncertain.
Lacking the direction to tell a supposed true story with any real panache there is a disconnection from Goslings’ lead that conjures little disdain or sympathy; just like Dunst’s poor befuddled wife we too scratch our heads as to what’s eating Ryan when the reasons for David’s issues are underdeveloped, no doubt due to a vague script that provides Gosling with little chance to display his immense talent and presence. The identical anguish of flitted young love to Blue Valentine cannot be found here, lacking both the heart and the tragedy and neither do we see the intimidating brutality of Gosling’s other, better known seminal psycho.
A latter plot turn is simply bizarre, with the aging David’s attempt to gain ‘privacy’ appearing disproportionate to his motivations to not be seen as ‘David’ anymore; creating the feeling of an altogether different movie, unintentionally becoming darkly comic; and overall never settling on one direction or being clearly defined in its progress.
But there is nothing stranger than fact and when possibly being faithful to the actualities, the real life framework for the chronicling of this story would naturally dictate the narrative, but with still enough artistic licence to thrill a chance is missed to get as much drama and chills from New York’s most notorious unsolved case.
All Good Things is intriguing enough but ultimately it fails to deliver anything genuinely disturbing.
P.S. back to that hot streak; because we all love Ryan, we can allow that streak to remain intact given this long delayed release (at least in the UK) and a majority straight to home release in the US in 2010, coming after Blue Valentine.
He returned to form soon after – Drive anyone?