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A GOOD MARRIAGE

April 21, 2015

DVDFilm + EntertainmentReview | by Francesco Cerniglia


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Interestingly enough, what stands out in Stephen King movies is the ability to establish scenes in unison with characters, within the opening five minutes. But, how does this film compare with other films of the genre? It must be immediately clarified that this isn’t the usual adaptation from one of the prolific novelist’s books. It’s actually an original screenplay he wrote and that (not exactly a name) filmmaker Peter Askin directed.

In recent memory, films like Zodiac (2007) or another of Stephen King’s classics, Misery (1990), starring Kathy Bates, also tend to build tension with specific keys and plot notes. How does it all add up this time around?

Now, unless you have taken a liking to this kind of stories, A Good Marriage is just another hum drum appeal to the patron of likeable movie experiences. There is hardly a foot note in this particular suspense drama that makes it stand out, par its simplicity of viewing. You will find that you are not at all racking your brain overtly just to stick with the programme — pardon the pun.

The film sits nicely for the paying customer out on the town looking for some popcorn and a nice cold soda to go with the experience. However, expect no more than sheer entertainment and a free flow of icy cold beverage, for this film really breaks no ground when attempting to wow or enlighten the audience.

An easy viewing it may be, but how else is a genre picture of this calibre meant to encapsulate the experience of the art of the cinema. Classic modals come to mind when speaking of the age-old adage, left behind by Sir Alfred Hitchcock, enlightening of the true nature of cinema; the art; the horror etc.

You will find the first half of the film to be easy viewing, but not lacking in suspense, leaving you glued to your seat, for at least that while longer.

A handful of noticeable gestures from our alluring middle aged protagonist, Darcy, played by Oscar nominated Joan Allen (The Bourne Ultimatum), who completes another wonderful transformation for the screen, playing a likeable home-maker and mother of three. Darcy is tossed upward sideways and then downward again before having to decide whether life with her estranged husband is at all worth it. Sure there is a transition period, where she must regain his trust if the good marriage they have is at all going to work.

The unrecognizable Golden Globe Winner, Anthony Lapaglia is that divided man. He is at odds with his ability to play the perfect husband and juggling his second life. The odds have it as the table is turned eliciting the struggle for control in the marriage. Bob too is lacking the trust and motivation to want to believe his wife, after she finds out about his double life.

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Comparatively, looking back into the history of the art-form, you are forced to pay reckoning to the masters of the genre such as Hitchcock with North by Northwest (1959) and The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), though there is some solidarity in knowing that things have changed since then. Hence the simplicity of the genre’s new serving.

Dare we ask the question? Is this one of Stephen King’s best offerings or just another one in a long line of cheap paperback novels? It surely feels like the latter and probably that’s why he didn’t even bother writing a novel around this story.

A Good Marriage is available on DVD from April 20th

Jonathan Lim