Review: Stephen King’s A Good Marriage

Good MarriageStarring Joan Allen, Anthony LaPaglia

Directed by Peter Askin

Grimm Entertainment, VOD now, DVD 20th April

Not long after she and her husband Bob celebrate their silver wedding anniversary, Darcy discovers that he has been hiding a terrifying secret – he is the feared serial killer known simply as Beadie…

That’s not giving anything away: the confrontation between husband and wife comes very near the start of this latest Stephen King adaptation, which is scripted by King himself from his novella contained within the 2010 collection Full Dark, No Stars. Unlike many such movies, though, this hews very close to the original story – perhaps even too closely; however, it lacks the visceral power within the novella.

“Words are his power” ran the tagline for King’s books a few years back, and without a lot of his POV descriptions, it falls rather flat. The purpose of the story, according to King at the time, was an examination of how the wife of a real life serial killer (the BTK killer, Dennis Rader) could have lived for so long not knowing anything of her husband’s crimes, and the self-examination that Darcy undergoes is, necessarily, internal.

That’s not to fault either Anthony LaPaglia or Joan Allen, who make the central couple credible. Director and producer Peter Askin doesn’t capitalise on the opportunities for tension, and Stephen Lang’s character isn’t threaded through the story sufficiently to make the pay-off at the end as satisfying as it should be.

Verdict: Rather more run-of-the-mill than it should be. 7/10

Paul Simpson

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