A Good Marriage
by George Wolf
The last time Stephen King wrote a screenplay the results were, to be polite, disappointing. The film was Sleepwalkers and to be impolite, it sucked out loud.
But hey, that was 22 years ago, so let’s forget about the past and focus on how much better his latest screenwriting project turned out. With A Good Marriage, King expands his own short story into an intimate, no frills feature built on love, secrets, sex and murder.
Anthony LaPaglia and Joan Allen are Bob and Darcy, a longtime couple who are still plenty hot for each other, and who have the type of marriage others point to as being ideal.
The situation around their New Hampshire home is a bit more troubling. There is a serial killer in the area, and though news reports of the latest victim dominate the evening news, Bob and Darcy have family matters to attend to.
Their daughter’s wedding is at hand, and after the happy day, Bob leaves on a business trip. Alone in their big house, Darcy is tackling some household errands when she happens upon a secret stash of evidence that undoubtedly links her loving husband to a very dangerous double life.
From there, King and director Peter Askin have some fun with the thriller genre, leaving you unsure just how much of Darcy’s life with her now-suspicious husband is really happening. As you might expect, the two veteran leads take full advantage, with Allen especially delivering a rich performance that effortlessly swings between domestic bliss and survivalist cunning.
Scene-stealing honors go to Stephen Lang (Avatar) as an old-time detective tracking the killer. King gives him some juicy dialogue, and his scenes with Allen display a delicious back and forth tinged with a darkly comical mutual admiration.
In fact, it’s a shame A Good Marriage doesn’t explore its wickedly humorous edges more completely. It could have beefed up a story that’s stretched thin at times, and ridden three fine performances to even higher ground.