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Dark and disturbing, but excellent performances nonetheless
on 8 March 2013
All Good Things is a film that's `based on a true story.' However, I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen those words, only to find that the movie was so loosely based on reality that it might as well have been Star Wars. Yet, with All Good Things, it really is based on a real murder/missing persons case in America from the eighties.
We see Ryan Gosling and Kristen Dunst meeting and falling in love. Everything seems idyllic until Gosling starts acting more and more strangely. Then his erratic behaviour starts to get physical and even violent. The strength of the movie as a story lies in its focus on a web of characters and their relationships to one another, rather than on the crimes themselves. We never see the actual violence, but only its effects on characters, and their subsequent efforts to conceal the truth, to escape from their situation, or to satisfy some personal need.
We're given plenty of visual ammunition with which to base our own conclusions on who may or may not be guilty of which crimes, mainly through alluding to deviant mental conditions or sexual preferences. None of these offer any real evidence, only circumstantial. However, despite leaving the viewer in the role of judge as to whether Gosling's character is guilty or innocent, the film is worth watching for the two leads' performances. They do well to get into some very difficult characters and the film is definitely worth a look.
So, not a great movie, but an engrossing entertainment if you are in the mood for a dark story that leaves you wondering how closely real events in fact matched up to this clever reconstruction.