Review: All Good Things DVD

All Good ThingsSTUDIO: Magnolia | DIRECTOR: Andrew Jarecki | CAST: Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella, Diane Venora, Philip Baker Hall, Lily Rabe
RELEASE DATE:
3/29/11 | PRICE: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $26.95
BONUSES: commentary, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage
SPECS: R | 101 min. | Mystery romance | 1.85:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1| English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

For documentarian Andrew Jarecki’s narrative feature debut, All Good Things, the filmmaker delved into some of the same elements that made his acclaimed stranger-than-truth saga Capturing the Friedmans so compelling and disturbing. Based on incidents that occurred in the life of Robert Durst, All Good Things stars Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine) as David Marks (standing in for Durst), son of a New York real estate tycoon (Frank Langella (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) whose working class wife (Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man) disappears after bouts of nasty marital fighting. Marks, who possesses a scary temper and lives with skeletons from his past, goes AWOL himself after the incident, resurfacing later in another part of the country with a new identity. But he’s no less volatile or unpredictable…

All Good Things movie scene

Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst star in All Good Things.

While most of the incredible events in this story are well-documented, they appear so strange they could have been created by a top-notch mystery writer. And that’s what makes Jarecki’s effort so fascinating. All Good Things keeps viewers on their toes thanks to its unpredictable twists and turns, superior acting all around, writer/director Jarecki’s chilling directorial flourishes and  a top-notch soundtrack highlighted by period Steely Dan songs.

All Good Things’ uneasy trip to theaters and On Demand avenues late last year has been well documented: Jarecki, one of the founders of MovieFone, bought the rights back from The Weinstein Company after they shelved it and then sold them to Magnolia Pictures. Good move for all concerned as the dark, modern noir stands as one of the spookiest true crime stories in recent memory.

The generous extras package includes a handful of featurettes on the film’s production, the research that went into it, and Gosling’s make-up job, which ages him some 30 years. There are also interviews with the cast and filmmakers (Jarecki makes a point of saying he’s interest in “monster stories”) as well as four deleted scenes, including a particularly strange one involving a hidden stash of Polaroids.

But without question the most fascinating supplemental feature is the commentary, which features Jarecki along with the real Robert Durst, whom Jarecki wangled into joining him on the track. It’s definitely unique: The subject of a film that implies he may have murdered his wife sitting down with the filmmaker to comment on the movie and the circumstantial evidence that continues to whirl around him. More than unique, the track is actually a bit disturbing. After making an initial remark about finding out that a Google Alert that Jarecki was making a movie about his life, Durst, in his low-toned, clipped voice, essentially reviews All Good Things from the point of view of both a movie-goer and a former defendant. He agrees with a lot that he sees on the screen when it comes to the performances, locales and period re-creations, but is quick to disagree with much of Jarecki’s conjectures about what really transpired all those years ago.

“This made me feel bad about the movie, Andrew,” Durst says at one point regarding a scene where it’s implied that he has killed his wife’s dog. “The idea that I could kill Igor I don’t like…”

 

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.