2014 / Director. Peter Askin.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
Of the seemingly countless Stephen King adaptations, there are only a few that he has personally written for the screen. A GOOD MARRIAGE is his latest and it is based on a short story he published in 2010. Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia play a loving and devoted couple whose marriage is the envy of everyone they know. With a brutal serial killer on the loose in their home-state the wife makes some unsettling discoveries in their house, which suggest that her husband might be the killer. She is also a heavily medicated woman, prone to hallucinations. And so is the basis of this unusual thriller that relies heavily on its two lead performances. Allen and LaPaglia are excellent and almost single-handedly carry the film. The story unravels like a play would on stage and director Peter Askin cleverly supports the basic storyline with an effective use of visual and sound design. The eerie ambience and perpetual suspense make much of the film an edge-of-seat experience, however, where most films of this sort would spiral into a dark and violent finale, A GOOD MARRIAGE does the opposite. The story begins with a suspenseful premise and winds its way to a dramatic and almost placid finale. Strangely this didn't bother me and I really appreciated the film's unconventional structure. Stephen Lang deserves a mention too. He plays a dying former detective who has his own suspicions and he lurks in the dark like a madman himself. He is not an actor I care much for but his performance in this film is very nicely done. A GOOD MARRIAGE sits nicely alongside some of King's more understated films such as DOLORES CLAIBORNE and APT PUPIL and will appeal to people who prefer his dramatic stuff over the grotesque. His screenplay is solid too. He has avoided the quirky characteristics that he so often injects into his stories and it is possibly his most mature script to date. It is no masterpiece but it works. A simple story. Great performances and controlled direction make it a strong film, albeit a modest one.