Saturday, January 15, 2011

All Good Things (Rhoades)

“All Good Things” Tells Us of Bad Things
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Living in New York at the time, I remember the events this film is based on. Bobby Durst, scion of a wealthy Scarsdale real estate family, was suspected of murdering his wife Kathleen McCormack and his friend Susan Berman. Berman’s body was found executed in her California home. McCormack simply disappeared. Her last known words were “If something happens to me, check it out. I’m afraid of what Bobby will do.”
Durst was questioned in both cases, but not charged.

Eventually he moved to Texas where he passed himself off as a woman named Dorothy Ciner. Dorothy’s apartment had a frequent visitor, a male alter ego who introduced himself as Robert Durst.

Later he went on the lam after an elderly neighbor’s body parts floated up in Galveston Bay. Declared America's first billion-dollar fugitive, he was arrested at a Wegman’s Supermarket near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for shoplifting a $5.49 chicken sandwich and a Band-Aid (despite having $600 cash in his pocket). He was wearing a woman’s brown wig and a false blond mustache. In his rented car police found another $37,000, two guns, and his dead neighbor’s driver’s license.

Claiming self-defense, he was subsequently acquitted of his neighbor’s murder, but wound up in prison for bond jumping. After serving his time, he soon found himself back behind bars for violating the terms of his parole by making an unauthorized trip to a mall where he bumped into the presiding judge.

Robert Alan Durst’s story has become legendary in popular culture. In 2004, TV’s “Law & Order” based an episode on his case. And a 2010 film directed by Andrew Jarecki offers a fictionalized version his story. The film’s title comes from the name of a health food store the real-life Dursts invested in.

That film – “All Good Things” – is currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.

Two A-list actors, Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, star as the crazed husband and at-risk wife. Here they are called David and Katie Marks. Frank Langella takes on the role of the father.

Bobby Durst and his wife Kathleen had maintained a home in South Salem, NY, not far from my own Westchester County home. I drove past their place many times, wondering what drove Durst to such bizarre crimes. Was it the marijuana he habitually used? Was it the fact that he witnessed his mother’s suicide at age 7? Was it his disappointment that his brother Douglas was tapped to run the family empire? Or that his wife wanted a divorce, threatening to reveal that he’d embezzled from the company if he didn’t comply?

“All Good Things” doesn’t attempt to give us the answer. But it chronicles the strange relationship of Bobby … er, David ... and his wife.

The film offers some fictional twists and turns. But in this case you gotta admit that truth is stranger than fiction.
[from Solares Hill]

1 comment:

Hugh Peche said...

Watched this movie last nite at the Tropic. Interesting study of either a mentally ill or just-plain-evil personality. Held my attention, although my wife felt it was depressing - but that's part of the intent of the film: the ever-intensifying, damaging impact Marks had on his relatively innocent wife.

The contrast between Marks' sleazy family and friends and her All-American family added to the tension of the film.

Open to interpretation - we talked about what we thought all the way home - this movie may not be for everyone, but will hold the interest of mystery buffs as well as those who like their villains totally despicable.