Groundswell Productions, Hit The Ground Running Films

Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella, Lily Rabe, Philip Baker Hall, Michael Esper, Diane Venora, Nick Offerman, Kristen Wiig, Stephen Kunken

David Marks (Ryan Gosling) marries middle-class beauty Katie McCarthy (Kirsten Dunst) against the wishes of his disapproving father (Frank Langella). David is a real estate superstar and very well off, and he seems really in love with Katie. But when she disappears and is never found, suspicions begins to point to David. However there is no evidence and he is not even indicted in her disappearance and nothing is ever heard of her again. Nothing from her credit cards and bank accounts, nothing on her cell phone. This is a dramatization of a true story based upon one of the most unusual unsolved missing persons/murder cases in New York history. Then other people around David start to die under mysterious circumstances, and an attempt is made to implicate him decades later. As the story of what happened to David in the meantime is exposed, it is as bizarre and surprising as they come. Moving away and disguised as a woman, we hear of the death of people close to David and Katie mostly through interviews and courtroom drama. David was accused of the murder and dismemberment of his neighbor and good friend as well, but was not convicted for that one either.

This is a love story and a murder mystery rolled into one. Ryan Gosling does a good job of playing this very strange person. Kirsten Dunst is good as well, but in a limited role as she disappears early on. Frank Langella is both creepy and mean as he goes through the motions of protecting his son, but the relationship is very strained. No one has ever solved this mystery, although on the Special Features section of the disk, there is an extended string of interviews with all the real characters that made up this story. Most of them are convinced Robert murdered and cut his wife into pieces and burned the body. This is somewhat confusing because the real person that this movie is based on is Robert Durst, but “the names were changed to protect the innocent”, as they say. But the movie started as research, hence the extended interviews with all the real people and then a drama was written based upon the fact of the actual case. I’m not sure why they chose the drama route instead of doing an out and out documentary, but I guess you can take leaps of faith and stretches of the truth in a docudrama of fictitious characters, I’m not sure. It’s a fairly creepy story, and though it’s very well done, it’s not much fun to watch in a lot of parts. It’s amazing how this guy lived his life, and he seems very likely guilty to me, but no one has been able to pin anything on him. The movie is mostly a narrative with flash backs based upon the testimony David gives. I enjoyed the story, but I’m not blown away by it. The fact that it’s pretty much a true story makes it hard to decide if it helps the movie or hinders. In some ways it might have been better if it was truly fiction, but on the other hand, the “It really happened” thing makes it even more amazing. What a life this guy has led. If he got away with it, it’s not because nobody tried to pin it on him. If you like murder mysteries, this film is not bad in that department.

[Click to see the Wiki article about Robert Durst]

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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