Friday, February 20, 2009

Revolutionary Road

Based on a novel of Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road is an interesting film. Although it's a little bit predictable, it's very effective to deconstruct the schematic about a couple that is not going well. There's no doubt that the film's storyline may look too simple for some, but Revolutionary Road contains some of this year's most intense performance. All in all, the American Academy must take heed of this movie before giving its verdict and it's too bad that this one didn't get a nomination for best film.


April (Kate Winslet), a failed actress, and Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio), a salesman for an electronic firm, once met at a party and now form a wonderful suburban couple with two kids in all and sundry's opinion. Behind this veneer of joy and perfection, Frank has a dull clerical job that he can't stand. In order to bring back the idea of living one's dream in the couple, April proposes Frank to move to Paris. As a matter of fact, by doing so, in April's opinion, Frank can take the time to think about what he really wants to do in life. Nonetheless, with April going to have a third child and him getting a promotion at this workplace, Frank questions his desire to go to Paris, which dismays his wife.

The film Revolutionary Road might bore some blockbusters addicts because of its slow pace. Nonetheless, given that we're introduced to April and Frank's problems right at the beginning (under a form of flashback), the slow pace is an added value. In fact, it gradually brings us toward things that will make our two leading characters a dysfunctional couple in each one's perspective. Is it actually worth moving on to new things and thus leaping into uncertainty? That is what April believes and this is her raison d'être to live. Frank, on the other hand, ultimately hesitates to go to Paris and wonder if people should try to comfortably be happy with what they have. Therefore, as the film advances, one comes to believe that Frank and April form an American couple that has given up all dreams in order to live in social conformism. Unfortunately, as the movie explores even more Frank and April's loss of passion for life without any mindless plot twists, the film's end becomes extremely predictable although it seems logical considering the evolution of the story.

Hopefully, Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond) and Kate Winslet (Iris) live up to our expectations with their incredible chemistry despite having to play a married couple that gradually becomes dysfunctional. With all due respect, DiCaprio's performance evidently hits the right note, but it's Winslet who actually pinned me even more to my seat. In fact, she's good at dealing with April's depth both in her speaking and her silent parts so that you see April's ultimate desillusion about life (hence what you see at the end of the film). Even if the film didn't get any nods for best picture, it will be remembered for the next years to come.

Rating: 4.5/5


Revolutionary Road
USA/UK (2008)
Length: 119 minutes
Genre: Drama
Screenplay: Justin Haythe
Director: Sam Mendes
Starring: Leonard DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates, David Harbour and Kathryn Hahn


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