The story of Robert Durst has been continuously swept under the rug and then resurfaced at the will of the New York District Attorney and the media. But now, once and for all, the tale of murder, deception, and mental instability has been solidified in Andrew Jarecki's (of Capturing the Friedmans fame) All Good Things. Naturally, for the purposes of embellishment and speculation, the names of Robert Durst and his wife, Kathleen McCormack, have been changed to David Marks and Katie McCarthy.
With this in mind, it is more than distinct that certain liberties must have been taken in penning the script, which was written by Marc Smerling (who worked previously with Jarecki on Capturing the Friedmans and Catfish) and Marcus Hinchey. However, the basic facts are there: David saw his mother kill herself by jumping off the roof of their home, he tended to display severe psychological trauma after "the incident," including schizophrenic behavior, and he struggled to meet the expectations of his real estate mogul father, Sanford Marks, whose name in real life is Seymour Durst (the character of which is played by Frank Langella, an actor who is always typecast in the role of "menacing old dude," with maybe the exception of 1993's Body of Evidence, where he plays the role of "perverted old dude." And yes, I've only seen it because Madonna was the star of the movie).
It is merely intimated, rather than concretely asserted, that David has some type of split personality, a characteristic that is illustrated when Katie overhears him talking to himself (usually repeating the things that she has said to him from earlier conversations)--and not in the absentminded, daffy scientist way, so much as the demented, "I'm going to kill somebody" way. And then there's also the fact that he dresses up as a woman whenever he disposes of bodies or goes into hiding (it smacks of Norman Bates, I know).
The film, although it later becomes about the trial of Robert Durst after several body parts of his neighbor, Morris Black, were found in Galveston Bay, is really more of a twisted love story--and how easily the sentiments of love and hate can become interchangeable. Because, even though Katie can't stand the thought of allowing herself to be imprisoned by the weight of David's demands any longer (he forced her to get an abortion and disapproved of her ambition to go to medical school), she is still unable to fully unchain herself from his hold. David, in a similar vein, wants to control and possess Katie so that no one else can.
Even if All Good Things delights in the hypothetical aspects of Robert Durst's life story, the murders he may have committed, and the disappearance of his wife in 1982, it certainly makes for some of the best cinematic fodder in recent months, and reminds us why Ryan Gosling was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Half Nelson. And, not to be completely outshined, Kirsten Dunst more than holds her own as the abused delicate flower (something of a reprisal of her role in Marie Antoinette).
Additionally, All Good Things does something that very few movies of the past few years have attempted: Tell audiences a story they are not already familiar with. Apart from New York's upper elite, there is a large majority who have either forgotten or never been acquainted with the Robert Durst saga. This film serves as a sufficient stepping stone toward learning the truth about what might have actually happened.