Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Revolutionary Road

Movie name: Revolutionary Road
Year of release: 2008
Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Michael Shannon, David Harbour, Kathryn Hahn, Kathy Bates, Dylan Baker, Zoe Kazan, Max Casella, Jay O. Sanders
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

"Revolutionary Road" is the adaptation of a novel from author Richard Yates. It's also Sam Mendes' 4th film, following "American Beauty", "Road to Perdition" and "Jarhead". If his career thus far has been greeted with mixed reviews (from the universal acclaim of his first film, to the mediocre reviews that "Jarhead" achieved), one thing is certain: his films always have the prestige element associated with them. "Revolutionary Road" follows the life of a young couple, Frank and April Wheeler in America, circa 1950s. Frank and April are at a point in their lives where they feel they have compromised their dreams for a reality that is nothing like what they wanted or envisioned. April in particular feels suffocated and envisions a plan for them to escape: move to Europe and start over. Frank embarks on her ideas, but a surprising boost in his career makes their plans go awry with tragic consequences. The film is a dissection of a marriage and of how two people eventually sabotage each other because of their own fears and insecurities. The fact that the film takes place in the 50s, showcases the deconstruction of the perfect superficial look that families had (a bit like Todd Haynes did with "Far From Heaven"). It's nothing exactly new, but what ends up saving the film are the fantastic actors, particularly Michael Shannon who plays John Givings, a man undergoing shock treatments and says what he means as if there's no tomorrow. Kate Winslet does a great job with her character, but this year her performance to remember is in "The Reader". Leonardo DiCaprio continues to focus his intensity, but this time it feels a bit too forced. The film is impeccably photographed, courtesy of Roger Deakins and the score by Thomas Newman is melancholic and touching. Worth watching.