|'Director Andrew Jarecki is on stronger ground towards the start of All Good Things, where the Drama is more predictable and the layers less pronounced.'|
All Good Things is an odd film, one of those you rather feel 'got away' a little bit from those who tell it. There's a very specific type of film that seems to 'get away' from people. This, which at several points puts Ryan Gosling in very bad drag, qualifies as exactly that sort of film.
Interestingly, director Andrew Jarecki has recently made The Jinx, a documentary project which claimed to reveal the criminality of property tycoon Robert Durst, who, The Jinx claims, has had a level of involvement in the deaths of several of his acquaintances. All Good Things, released five years before that project, covers the same territory, this time looking at Durst through the lens of fictionalised Drama. In this case, Durst, his name changed for legal reasons to David Marks, is played by Gosling and his wife, Katie, by Kirsten Dunst.
Jarecki is on stronger ground towards the start of All Good Things, where the Drama is more predictable and the layers less pronounced. Gosling makes an effective put-upon family member for Frank Langella to berate, which he does voraciously and often. Katie and David meanwhile strike up a sweet romance, which leads them to establish the titular small shop where life seems happy.
At this point, as All Good Things begins to add its layers (Jarecki has already shown us Gosling in ageing make-up, narrating this story from the future), the director loses an element of control. Gosling in drag, for a start, is a little distracting, but the motivations for his character to do so are even more so. There are strong hints from the director that it's all to do with some sort of unresolved attachment to his mother, but the film really sidesteps around them, never committing to thorough exploration.
That becomes even more problematic once All Good Things reaches the point where it begins to infer about Marks crimes. Jarecki is potentially hamstrung by the legal situation, but he doesn't find a suitable narrative solution to say what he wants to properly and clearly, and the film eventually fades out in a generally unsatisfactory manner. It's good to see that the director has revisited the same story, apparently with a much higher level of success, but this early version is only worth investigating for completists of Durst history.