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Teen Review: ‘All Good Things’

New Teen Critic Gives Thumbs Up to Murder Tale

Above: Ryan Gosling stars as a man suspected of murdering his wife in "All Good Things."

The film “All Good Things” (opened December 17 at Landmark's Ken Cinema) says it is based on true events.

Andrew Jarecki's "All Good Things," like many recent films, claims to be based on facts. Although I didn't think I could believe such claims after "Paranormal Activity," I could definitely believe this mysterious tale of love, crime, deceit, and murder. It is what American crime mysteries have transformed into. They have gone from black and white film noir of the 40s to gritty mind-bending cop films of the 90’s to these reality-based true crime tales.

"All Good Things" is a prime example of what the film-noir genre and today’s audiences need. Jarecki has given us the standard, and we are left to interpret it into our own adversities or sociopathic tendencies.

Being a teenager a lot of the problems these characters face are unfamiliar to me. So the film is aimed at a more adult audience since it involves a married couple, as well as court hearings. Yet that hasn’t hindered me from enjoying the movie. In fact, it's kind of comforting that I can't to relate to some of these characters.

"All Good Things" is not just a story of death or the power of wealth to corrupt or even love-turned-psychotic. It is more of a re-interpreted celebrity criminal case -- one of those traumatizing news stories we hear and then forgot about. In “All Good Things” Ryan Gosling plays David Marks, the delinquent bachelor-son of one of the top property owners in New York, Sanford Marks (Frank Langella). To everyone’s surprise, David marries Katie (Kirsten Dunst). She’s a young, naïve, beautiful girl, who knows absolutely nothing about him, other than his family’s bankroll.

As for the appeal of this film to a younger-but-not-too-young audience (since the MPAA gave it an R rating) let’s just say the two main characters are considerably attractive and that's a draw. There may be plenty of intense moments, but with a supporting character played by comedienne Kristin Wiig, expect a laugh or two as well. Gosling’s character is constantly changing, becoming more and more ridiculous as the story develops. I found it amusing to see him go from wearing suits to please his father to T-shirts and jeans as he develops a love for nature. Then he moves back to the city, wearing a suit and tie to become corporate leader, and after that phase moving on to a BTK-with-too-many-pastel-sweaters look. Eventually – when he decides to shed his identity and go incognito -- he is badly dressed as a woman and is unlikely to fool anyone.

“All Good Things” takes you back to a pitch-perfect replica of the 1970’s, imitating the music, fashion, drugs, and politics. The way Sanford Marks runs the family company is rather sketchy, but when we see David rolling blunts and talking to himself, it’s hard to say who the real bad guy is here. After the disappearance of his beautiful bride, the bad guy is obviously David. But in 2003, no one seems to believe it.

Ryan Gosling and Kristen Dunst are the attractive leads in "All Good Things."

The Weinstein Company

Above: Ryan Gosling and Kristen Dunst are the attractive leads in "All Good Things."

We, the audience, are given bits and pieces of information and events, but also many questions. It’s not so much of a “whodunit” mystery as it is a “what the hell’s gonna happen next?” I often found myself thinking, “Why isn’t anyone stopping this crazy mofo!” And not always in reference to David Marks. We are given good examples of the fallacies about the benefits of being wealthy. Every character is a great example of how money can be a weakness and doesn't necessarily buy happiness. The minor characters help balance the dark immorality with sincerity and a true love for their family and friends. But then there's plenty of desperation, bribery, murder, and such to make it all the more interesting.

Jarecki likes to visit the past in the past, but then he always brings us back to the safety of the present. Visually, the use of color contrast the vivid with dreary, complimenting the way the story is being told. Jarecki uses a lack of color to reflect a lack of life, or any kind of sanity. I love how the camera is used to convey the different visual styles for each time period. In the beginning, the same camera used to film a childish portrayal of violence is also used to depict his wedding. It’s a constant theme of capturing a moment, and holding on to it. It represents images that still haunt these characters, but seen from the different viewpoints of each.

"All Good Things" (rated R for drug use, violence, language and some sexuality) has a distinct style. It is tragic, mysterious, modern, and ironic. Plus it had all those Steely Dan songs. And the superb use of strings and piano for a well-orchestrated crescendo from creepy to horrifying in certain scenes. Overall, it’s a good film. Whether on the big screen or on the small, I suggest you watch it.

--Lidia Marin is a senior attending Mount Miguel High School and is currently taking a Film as Lit Class.

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Avatar for user 'claireaccomando'

claireaccomando | December 28, 2010 at 7:53 a.m. ― 6 years, 2 months ago

Excellent review. Makes me want to see the film. Thank you

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Avatar for user 'Jamie_Cheek'

Jamie_Cheek | January 10, 2011 at 11:31 a.m. ― 6 years, 2 months ago

The movie by how you put it seems very interesting. I'll probably view it later when I have the time to. As a fan of music I might also pay attention to the soundtrack while viewing the movie as well.

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Avatar for user 'ivet_hernandez'

ivet_hernandez | January 17, 2011 at 4:41 p.m. ― 6 years, 2 months ago

This review gives me all the information i need about the film. It talks about the two main charcters, giving background information about them. It has a nice summary, telling me the setting and time of the movie. What i love the most is how this review contains specific details about the camera shots and angles, the color contrast and much more. Also names some instruments played in the subperb. All the information given in this review gives me a very good visual view of the movie. This makes me actually want to watch the film other than the fact that Ryan Gosling is an actor in this film! ;)

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Avatar for user 'ceidyflores'

ceidyflores | January 20, 2011 at 2:49 p.m. ― 6 years, 2 months ago

This review gave me all the details id like to know about a movie. Lidia talks about main characters, situations, and even talks about how the director does camera shots and angles. What i like the most is how she somewhat compared her teen life to the movie not being alike and how she'd still watch and enjoy. Given the great details makes me want to give this movie a try and be able to rate it myself. GREAT review :)

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