Movie Review: Revolutionary Road
Release Date: December 26, 2008
Distributor: DreamWorks/Paramount Vantage
· Sam Mendes
· Kate Winslet
· Leonardo DiCaprio
· Kathy Bates
· Michael Shannon
· David Harbour
· Kathryn Hahn
· Official Site
· IMDb: Revolutionary Road
by Robert Bell
Published: December 26, 2008
Throwing into question the necessity and desirability of the culturally dominant norm and its inherently circular and problematic patterns and limitations, "Revolutionary Road" sharply and sagaciously examines the disintegration of a marriage through disparate ideologies that grow broader over time. They represent the socially predominant need to conform, and be accepted by the rest of the herd, along with the discerning and pragmatic observation—which is often dismissed as insane—that perhaps blindly doing what is expected without exploring oneself or really assessing what matters in life is absurd, and sets oneself up for disappointment, defeat and despondency.
There is little fault in any aspect of the film, as the performances are complex and powerful, the writing is focused and relevant and Sam Mendes’ direction of the material is utterly impressive. The simultaneous subtlety, clarity and necessary stillness in pointing out the lies that people tell themselves in order to trudge on is pitch-perfect and handled with a great maturity, especially considering how glibly most people often dismiss these notions as immature.
Based on Richard Yates’ novel of the same name, "Revolutionary Road" looks at the marriage of Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio), a somewhat passionless rube whose marriage to the unorthodox and discerning April (Kate Winslet) is less about connection, and more about having something pretty on his arm during cocktail parties.
Settling in to a routine life of nine-to-five hell and passionless prescribed desires, the pair develops a hatred for each other until April comes up with a plan to move to France, which initially appeals to Frank, until fear of the unknown takes over and forces April back into a life without hope.
There is a rare beauty and truth in this film, which will connect with a choice few on a deeply personal level. And even those who live life like Kathy Bates' character, honestly believing that Michael Shannon’s character is insane, will have an appreciation for the impressive overall aesthetic and intense performances on display. "Revolutionary Road" truly is one of the best films in some time.