Nat­u­ral-food-born killer

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images - Jen­nifer Levin For The New Mex­i­can

All Good Things, thriller, rated R, CCA Cine­math­eque, 2 chiles

IThis thriller, di­rected by An­drew Jarecki, is a fic­tion­al­ized ac­count of the story of Robert Durst, long a sus­pect in the un­solved dis­ap­pear­ance of his wife. In the movie, David Marks (Ryan Gosling) and his wife-to-be, Katie McCarthy (Kirsten Dunst) meet in early 1970s New York City but soon move to Ver­mont to run a health-food store (the name of which pro­vides the film’s ti­tle). The two feel mis­matched from the start — Katie is vi­va­cious, in­tel­li­gent, and beau­ti­ful, whereas Marks is a brood­ing mum­bler who seems to cher­ish his own dark­ness — but be­cause on-screen text has al­ready de­clared the story “true” in that it is based on some­thing that re­ally hap­pened, there isn’t much room to ar­gue with the cred­i­bil­ity of the pair­ing. We learn that David’s fa­ther (Frank Lan­gella) is wealthy and mean, a real-es­tate mogul who sum­mons his son back from the gra­nola wilder­ness and in­stalls him as as­sis­tant slum­lord to his Times Square prop­er­ties. His mother, we are told via a court­room-based voice-over de­vice, died vi­o­lently when he was young. Katie’s fam­ily, on the other hand, is warm and mid­dle-class. They just want her to be happy.

In his first film, the crit­i­cally ac­claimed doc­u­men­tary Cap­tur­ing the Fried­mans, Jarecki used am­bi­gu­ity to show “truth” can shift based on point of view. In that nu­anced por­trait of a fam­ily de­stroyed by sex­ual-abuse al­le­ga­tions, the sub­jects earnestly gave them­selves over to the cam­era. The am­bi­gu­ity came from the mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives pro­vided in­side and out­side of the fam­ily. The cloy­ing am­bi­gu­ity of All Good Things at first en­hances the movie’s sur­face ten­sion but ul­ti­mately serves as an an­noy­ingly sim­plis­tic short­cut for screen­writ­ers Mar­cus Hinchey and Marc Smer­ling, who ex­pect their au­di­ence to ac­cept sto­icism, cliché, and some vin­tage-look­ing film stock in place of emo­tional com­plex­ity, how­ever deeply buried. The tone is so con­trolled that it’s nearly in­ert and, upon closer scru­tiny, there just isn’t very much story there. Is David a so­ciopath or a trau­ma­tized abuse vic­tim who never got enough love to be­come a whole per­son? Are the two mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive? In the case of the Fried­man

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