The fiction feature debut of Andrew Jarecki, director of the 2003 documentary Capturing the Friedmans, All Good Things likewise concerns dark secrets among the Levites of New York, revisiting the case of Robert "Bobby" Durst, estranged son and black sheep of a real-estate dynasty. Durst re-emerged into the public eye in 2000, when the unsolved 1982 disappearance of his wife was reopened for investigation. Shortly afterward, he was sought in connection with a Texas man's dismembered body. Subsequent trials revealed a personal history winding along a trail of crime scenes. Ryan Gosling plays an "inspired by" Durst substitute, David Marks. This names-have-been-changed distancing, and the discrepancies of existing testimonies, give the filmmakers the freedom to indulge in speculation as to why and how people close to Durst—sorry, Marks—keep disappearing. Discount analysis is in session throughout. Finding his wife's letter of acceptance to medical school, Marks splashes into the water by their summer house and hauls their boat ashore: "It was drifting away; I didn't want anybody to steal it." The film's title comes from the name of the organic grocery operated by Mr. and Mrs. Durst/Marks at the beginning of their marriage, before Marks is bullied back into the family business to do its dirty work, putting the onus for his crimes on the whole rotten system into which he was born. It's tempting to call All Good Things an upscale version of straight-to-cable True Crime crap—only that makes it sound more entertaining than it actually is.
Gosling's scion can't escape the pull of family money.
Opens at Seven Gables, Fri., Dec. 17. Rated R. 100 minutes.