Friday, December 17, 2010
All Good Things
Ryan Gosling is a gifted actor. He has an amazing ability to disappear in the characters he plays and makes them memorable. After couple of years of absence, he returns the big screen with two films during this award season—"Blue Valentine" is among this year's best films, and "All Good Things" (USA 2010 | 101 min.) is a fictional account of real life's chilling stories. Although Ryan Gosling plays two distinct characters in two films, both characters share striking similarity—charismatic and irresistible at first, unpredictable and even violent in the end.
Young and charming David Marks (Ryan Gosling) is traumatized by the loss of his mother at a very young age and is not interested in his family's real estate business. In the early 1970s, he meets Katie (Kirsten Dunst) and falls in love with her. They get married and open a healthy food grocery store called All Good Things in Vermont. However, their quiet and happy life is interrupted when David's condescending, stingy, and controlling father Sanford (Frank Langella) shows up. After they move back to New York City, their relationship begins to deteriorate. Followed by Katie's disappearance in 1982, more bodies show up mysteriously and David becomes the main suspect.
Director Andrew Jarecki is well known for his Oscar nominated 2003 documentary "Capturing the Friedmans." "All Good Things" is his narrative feature debut. He definitely continues to exhibit his investigative instinct in finding dark secrets in the story. He offers his own interpretation of what might have happened and skillfully tells a captivating and intriguing story.
However, Andrew Jarecki offers little insight, if any at all, about his protagonist's mindset. In the end, it is hard to grasp who David Marks really is and why he changes his heart to cave in to the family business. Despite Ryan Gosling's great talent, there is no much room for him to shine in this perplexing character. Luckily, you can catch his brilliant performance in "Blue Valentine."
After all, "All Good Things" is far from what the title claims to be.