A Good Marriage
a good marriage | peter askin | stephen king | joan allen | anthony lapaglia | stephen lang | based on | short story | crime | drama | thriller | united states | cara buono | kristen connolly | mike o'malley | theo stockman | will rogers | pun bandhu | terra mackintosh
Film: A Good Marriage
Director: Peter Askin
Writer: Stephen King
Starring: Joan Allen, Anthony LaPaglia and Stephen Lang
This was a film that I picked up on DVD a couple years after it came out as I remember reading the short story from King and really liking it. The first time I’ve watched it though was on Prime when my girlfriend Jaime as she thought it sounded good and I never pass up a chance to see a movie she’s interested in. The synopsis here is after 25 years of a good marriage, what will Darcy (Joan Allen) do once she discovers her husband’s sinister secret?
We start this movie at a party where Bob Anderson (Anthony LaPaglia) is given an award. He does taxes and he’s one of the best that works for Bill Gaines (Mike O’Malley). Also at this party is his wife Darcy, their daughter Petra (Kristen Connolly), her fiancé Vince Dorne (Will Rogers) and their son Donnie (Theo Stockman). Betty Pike (Cara Buono) who is best friends with Darcy is also in attendance. She’s pretty drunk and is upset about a serial killer that is stalking the New England area.
The married couple goes home to celebrate some more. We get to see what feels like a routine for the two when they make love. Bob does have a bit of a wandering eye as he sees Betty from his window kissing someone in her garage. He’s called back by his wife and as they get intimate.
They seem like a normal happy family, but there’s a man who much later we learn is named Holt Ramsey (Stephen Lang). He was at the party in the beginning, watching them and is also been staking out the house.
Bob is into collecting rare antique coins and does a lot of traveling to try to find more as well as for work. Darcy is watching television and a graphic horror movie is on. She’s freaked out, but the remote won’t work. She goes out to the garage to try to find a new battery. She knocks over a magazine to find some she’s been looking for. She also discovers that her husband has a fetish she didn’t know about. There’s something much more sinister hiding behind the boxes. There’s a nook with a little box that contains an ID of the recently found murdered woman along with a couple other cards with her name on it.
Is her husband is this notorious serial killer named Beadie. Darcy has to decide what she will do next. He calls her and notices that she’s been crying. There’s not a lot of time and a lot has to be considered and makes you think, what would you do if you were in her position?
I knew coming in that I had read this King short story as I believe at the time of writing this is the last book of his shorts that has come out. This one intrigued me that King based this off of the BTK Killer, who also lived a double life where his family and church had no idea what he was doing. Now that one plays out differently than the real life story. What I like is the moral dilemma this poses which that sparked conversation between Jaime and I afterwards. I don’t recall the story playing out like the film does as from what I remember, it ends pretty soon after Darcy finds the secret. I could be wrong there though.
Now I really want to delve into what you’d do if you discovered your significant other is a murderer. There’s the moral obligation to turn them in, because if you don’t, they could continue to kill and that would be on you as an accomplice. On the other side, like in the case here, Darcy and Bob have been married for 25 years. They have two successful children that have lives of their own. This could set a domino of effects that could ruin them, even though they had nothing to do with it. When I asked Jaime, she straight away said she’d turn me in. I played devil’s advocate, but I probably would to.
There’s another layer to this in that Bob has gotten away with what’s he has been doing for so long that he has to be a master manipulator. The lines that he feeds to his wife, make her wonder if she can trust him to do what he promises he will. There’s also that fear in the back of her mind that you can’t fully trust them after the betrayal of being kept in the dark for so long.
Shifting this over to the pacing, it runs 102 minutes long. I never got bored with it, so I didn’t really have any issues there. I do think that there probably was a bit that could have been cut from it to get it down to 90 minutes to be honest. I’m going by the old adage here that the first 90 are free and you need to convince me for anything over that. There’s a bit of filler in my eyes to trim from it. I do like where it ends up and how this ordeal changes Darcy.
Speaking of which, the acting of this movie I thought was good. This is really a vehicle for Allen as our lead with LaPaglia there as a secondary, but important driver to the story. Allen’s performance as Darcy was good. I feel horrible for her with what she discovers and coming to terms with what she has to do in order to survive. She also has to keep in mind her children as she’s a really good mother. I do see shade of my mother in her to be honest. LaPaglia I thought was good as well. He establishes the norm for his character and then we get to see the darkside of it. That works very well for me. Lang, Buono, Connolly and the rest of the cast do round this out for what was needed as well in shaping these two stars.
That will take me to the effects of the movie which there really aren’t a lot actually. The only time I can think is at the climax of the movie where Darcy comes to terms with what she has to do. There are pictures of the victims from Beadie, which they did a really good job with making them look realistic. We do get Darcy having to deal with things in her mind that we see play out. That did work for me and I’d say that the cinematography was solid as well.
Now with that said, this is a movie that poses an interesting question of what you’d do in this person’s position. It also shows us something that really did happen and that we truly don’t know someone like we think we do. The movie does run a bit long, but not enough to ruin what we got or get boring. I thought he acting was good. We don’t get a lot in the way of effects, but we also don’t necessarily need them. The soundtrack didn’t really stand out to me and it also didn’t hurt the movie either. They do use a lot of older songs that fit more to our main characters when they younger. Overall though I’d say this is an above average movie in my opinion. I’d recommend this for horror and non-horror fans alike as well.
My Rating: 7 out of 10