Taglines: The perfect love story. Until it became the perfect crime.
David Marks is the eldest of the third generation of the New York Marks real estate moguls, they who are in the top five of all New York City landowners, primarily of tenements and commercial properties renting to what would be considered seedy shops. David never had any desire to enter into the family business, which was run during the late twentieth century by his long widowed father, the cutthroat Sanford Marks, with whom he had a detached relationship.
In November 2003, David is testifying at a trial, where one of the attorneys, Richard Panatierre, is questioning him primarily about his life with his wife, Katie Marks née McCarthy, who he met in January 1971 when she was a tenant in one of the Marks owned buildings. Sanford never approved of Katie because of her working class status. Shortly after they got married, David and Katie moved to Vermont to open a health food store, although their life was subsidized by Sanford.
Sanford was able to convince David to move his family back to New York City and to accept a job in the family business doing work which Katie would probably not agree with if she knew its nature. As David got immersed in this work, his mood and behavior changed drastically to a point where Katie no longer saw in him the man she married, although she tried to stand by him even through these difficulties. But their lives began to drift apart.
As Panatierre continues his questioning to its conclusion with David, the true nature of the trial and the reasoning for the questions about Katie come to light. The trial would not have have occurred without the direct or indirect involvement of (among others) David’s longtime friend, writer Deborah Lehrman, an ambitious new New York District Attorney named Janice Rizzo, and a more recent Galveston based friend of David’s named Malvern Bump.
Inspired by the most notorious missing person’s case in New York history, All Good Things is a love story and murder mystery set against the backdrop of a New York real estate dynasty in the 1980s. The drama portrayed in Jarecki’s film was inspired by the story of Robert Durst, scion of the wealthy Durst family. Mr. Durst was suspected but never tried for killing his wife Kathie who disappeared in 1982 and was never found.
All Good Things is a mystery / crime romantic drama film directed by Andrew Jarecki starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. Inspired by the life of accused murderer Robert Durst, the film chronicles the life of the wealthy son of a New York real estate tycoon, and a series of murders linked to him, as well as his volatile relationship with his wife and her subsequent unsolved disappearance.
All Good Things was filmed between April and July 2008 in Connecticut and New York. The film was originally scheduled for a July 24, 2009, release, but was further delayed with a limited release of December 3, 2010.
Film Review for All Good Things
“All Good Things” is based on one of those true stories like Dominick Dunne used to tell so intriguingly in Vanity Fair. Let me begin with a brief summary, based on the film because I know nothing about the reality. It involves David Marks, the son of a New York family that owned valuable 42nd Street real estate in the 1970s. The property at that time was rented to strip clubs, porno shops, massage parlors and so on. The family, wealthy and private, moved in the best circles and the nature of its holdings was not widely known.
The patriarch, Sanford Marks (Frank Langella), is a commanding man who is hands-on. He often collects the rent in cash. He expects his son to enter the family business. David (Ryan Gosling) wants nothing to do with it. A free spirit of the Woodstock era, he meets Katie (Kirsten Dunst), and together they escape from New York and open a twee Vermont health foods and organic products store named, yes, All Good Things.
Sanford ratchets up the pressure. David caves in and returns to Manhattan, where his wife enjoys a luxurious but unhappy existence. She eventually discovers the nature of the family business. David, meanwhile, begins to change from the loving hippie she fell in love with. Their marriage comes apart. Katie disappears. She is never found again. David is suspected of being involved, but never charged, because he appears to have an unquestionable alibi.
And I will not reveal more. The film is the work of Andrew Jarecki, who in 2003 made the remarkable, Sundance-winning documentary “Capturing the Friedmans,” about a family and its secrets; the father and one son were charged with child molestation. It’s easy to see why this story appealed to him.
The key to the film is in the character of David. One can imagine a scenario in which an overbearing father drives the son to rebellion, but what happens here is more complex and sinister. David seemingly adapts to the lifestyle forced upon him. He plays a role like his father played among Manhattan power brokers and establishment members. He and Katie live in an expensive condo, attend charity events and so on. Perhaps it is self-hatred that drives him to insist they have an abortion.
Kirsten Dunst is so good here as a woman at a loss to understand who her husband really is, and what the true nature of his family involves. The man she married and trusted has undergone the transformation of a Dr. Jekyll. What happens is the sort of thing that develops only in fantastical horror stories, but this story apparently did happen in one form or another, and the most incredible details of David’s transformation are specifically based on facts revealed during two murder investigations.
I choose not to reveal how or where David meets the wonderfully named Malvern Bump (Philip Baker Hall). The nature of their relationship goes along with where they meet — the place both their lives have bottomed. Hall is one of those actors who seem to have inhabited their characters for years. He needs no explanation, because he just exists.
Jarecki offers a possible solution for the enigma of Katie’s disappearance and David’s alibi. It involves his enigmatic friendship with Janice Rizzo (Diane Venora), and that’s enough about that. This film reminded me of Barbet Schroeder’s “Reversal of Fortune” (1990), based on the Dominick Dunne-able Claus von Bulow case. In both stories, there is every reason to focus on the obvious suspect, except the impossibility of explaining how he could have committed the crime: Indeed, if there even was a crime.
I don’t understand David Marks after seeing this film, and I don’t know if Andrew Jarecki does. It occurs to me that on my first visits to New York of course I was drawn to 42nd Street, the port of entry for many a young man from the provinces, and I might even have laid eyes on Sanford or David Marks. Little would I have known.
Continue Reading and View the Theatrical Trailer
All Good Things (2010)
Directed by: Andrew Jarecki
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella, Lily Rabe, Philip Baker Hall, Kristen Wiig, Liz Stauber, Marion McCorry, Maggie Kiley, Marion McCorry, Trini Alvarado, Ashlie Atkinson
Screenplay by: Marcus Hinchey, Marc Smerling
Production Design by: Wynn Thomas
Cinematography by: Michael Seresin
Film Editing by: David Rosenbloom, Shelby Siegel
Costume Design by: Michael Clancy
Set Decoration by: Rich Devine
Art Direction by: Russell Barnes
Music by: Rob Simonsen
MPAA Rating: R for drug use, violence, language and some sexuality.
Distributed by: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: December 3, 2010