Sunday, March 1, 2015

Film Review: A Good Marriage (2014)

A Good Marriage (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...more like a psychological-drama."

After a very lengthy good marriage, Darcy (Joan Allen) uncovers her husband's disturbing secret...

A Good Marriage primarily follows Darcy and her husband, Bob (Anthony LaPaglia). Life is great for Darcy at the moment. Her marriage is wonderful, her children are growing up and succeeding, and so on. One day, while her husband leaves on a trip, Darcy conveniently finds Bob's secret. This shouldn't surprise anyone in the audience: Bob is a serial killer known as Beadie. The rest of the film follows Darcy as the tries to cope with the news and tries to find a way to live a normal life again. It leads to a predictable yet satisfying ending.

A Good Marriage is a good film. It's not a horrifying slasher or heart-pounding thriller. Instead, A Good Marriage plays more like a psychological-drama. There are some frightening moments here and there, and quite a few suspenseful scenes, but the bulk of the film feels more like a drama. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's worth noting so you can adjust your expectations. Anyway, it's a moderately effective film. The questions it poses don't burn with contemplation, but they work at the most minimal level. It's also a slow-paced film, too, sometimes a little too slow for its own good. The slow-pace, however, works well during the suspenseful sequences.

On the negative side, the slow-pace is amplified by some of the uneventful moments in the film. In turn, the film can feel like its dragging – like if a shorter film is being unnecessarily stretched out to meet some fabricated “feature-length runtime.” The story also has some contrived moments, especially the method of discovery. Essentially, the batteries run out on the remote, so Darcy enters the garage to find more; conveniently, she hits her foot on a box, which causes a snowball-effect of snooping. Personally, I thought it was too farfetched – felt kind of lazy.

The acting was great, though. I really liked Joan Allen, she has strong screen presence and charisma. Anthony LaPaglia is also great. The pair have great chemistry, too. I liked the somber soundtrack, it worked well with the tone of the film. It's also shot well, no complaints. Director Peter Askin delivers a moderately suspenseful and effective drama. It suffers from some pacing and story issues, but it is well crafted. Writer Stephen King is a great storyteller. However, this time around, I felt the story took a few shortcuts during vital plot points and had a lack of consistency. (i.e. it occasionally felt contrived and uneventful.)

Overall, I liked A Good Marriage. The performances were great, the story was at least somewhat interesting, and the direction wasn't half-bad. Although it lacked some in the story department, I was able to watch the film from beginning to end without pausing or checking the runtime. The film isn't as bad as I expected – Netflix predicted I'd give this film a one star rating! If you like psychological films and don't need a ferocious pace to enjoy your films, this may be worth your time.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood, some brief nudity and sex.

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