A love story and murder mystery based on the most notorious unsolved murder case in New York history. The original screenplay uses newly discovered facts, court records and speculation as the foundation for a story of family, obsession, love and loss.Written by
Wonderful performances headline this otherwise average thriller
If you are old enough to have lived through the 1980s, you would have heard of the "McDonald's Boys". Known to be one of the most chilling police cases in Singapore, this mystery has two boys who left home for school in 1986, but both boys, who were said to be good friends, never got to school. 24 years later, the two of them remain missing. The fast food chain had offered a $100,000 reward for information about the boys' whereabouts, but to date, they remain missing.
As much as recalling this infamous case brings chills down our spines, it also occurred to us how this incident would serve as a sensational inspiration for a movie screenplay. Guess this was what writers Marcus Hinchey and Marc Smerling had in mind when the duo penned the script for Andrew Jarecki's romantic mystery film, which is inspired by the true story of a New Yorker whose wife disappeared in 1982.
The film begins in 1980s New York City, where the son of a powerful estate tycoon marries a working class girl. Everything seems perfect in the beginning as the lovebirds move to the country side, but tensions eventually arise due to differing expectations. Tempers fly as family secrets are revealed. One day, the girl disappears without a trace, without any closure. 20 years later, the man's best friend shows up dead, and the case is reopened, leading to an unsettling truth.
If you didn't have the context that the plot was inspired a true incident, this 101 minute movie may have played out like any other murder mystery. However, your mind tells you that there is a possibility that out there somewhere, the girl is still alive. On the other end of the spectrum, the girl may be well be dead, without any proper closure. So what purpose does a movie like this serve then?
One thing for sure, it is a stark reminder of what humankind is capable of when desperate circumstances arise. It is, definitely, a reflection of human nature's darker side. Things are kept fairly ambiguous throughout the film, as it only offers glimpses of what might have happened. Of course, due to the structure of cinema, certain dramatic elements have been played up to make this a commercial project. Ultimately, the paced plot development makes the viewing experience an engaging one from beginning to end.
It also helps that a capable cast has been assembled for this production. Ryan Gosling gives a noteworthy performance as David Marks, an heir to a real estate fortune – the Oscar nominated Canadian actor portrays a torn soul coming to terms with inner demons with empathy. Kirsten Dunst plays his wife, Katie, a caring wife whose life takes a turn when she finds out about her husband's troubled past. Dunst manages to shed her famous Mary Jane image to play this tormented character. Their great performances are supported by Frank Langella as the demanding tycoon who wants nothing more than his fortune to be appropriately handled. The veteran actor's gravity lends weight to the character aptly.
Director Jarecki, who helmed the critically acclaimed documentary Capturing the Friedmans (2003), does a decent job to bring this tale of love turned sour to his audiences. Although it prods you like a clichéd mystery thriller, it also intrigues you with the more disconcerting aspect of human nature.
9 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this