Review: Revolutionary Road

When two brilliant actors, who are among the best among their generation and a director who has captured human pathos in stunning and vivid displays of beauty and perdition get together to bring to the big screen a critically acclaimed novel capturing the angst ridden life of an American suburban couple in the 1950’s you get a devastating trip to Revolutionary Roadrevolutionary road
There has been much talk of how Richard Yates’ supposedly brilliant novel has been brought to screen and critcs remained indifferent or deadpanned to this effort of Sam Mendes. Not only Kate Winslet is working for the first time with her husband, this is the frst time since the epic Titanic since she and Leonardo Di Caprio have come together in movie. Since Titanic they have blossomed into such fine actors and their body of work is source of envy to any contemporary or upcoming actor and it is a surprise that inspite of their proclivity to act in multi starrers they havent had a chance to come together till this movie came along. And I saw it was a good thing because this movie, totally revolving around the lead couple, Frank and April Wheeler, gives them an apt stage to prove their prowess and to show how far they have come since Titanic. The performances are simply stunning and I cant fathom why they have been snubbed by the oscars this year.

Kate WInslet’s performance in this movie is powerful and definitely way superior to what she did in The Reader. Its a pity that this role of hers dint get as much credit as it deserved. Her portrayal of a late 50’s housewife who is a failed actress and not at all happy with her life and needs to search some meaning to stay relevant is simply of the highest quality. Her character moves from one mood to another rapidly and tries to make sense of a life where she feels she doesnt belong and Winslet comfortably glides along perfectly portraying every emotion of fear, confusion, betrayal, love, hatred etc. Leonardo plays the husband who hates his job and though he understands the ‘hopeless emptiness’ of his life being chalked out as everybody else’s doesnt try make a serious effort to change it. He plays very well a man who is constantly challenged by his wife, who he loves dearly and yet cant make her happy. Also a must mention is the oscar nominated role of mentally deranged mathematician played by Michael Shannon. In the short yet explosive screen time he has he twists and influences the lead characters heavily and is like the soothsayer of the story unravelling the mystery behind their lives.
revolutionary-road DonBettyDraper1
As I began watching this movie, it strongly reminded me of Mad Men, the critically acclaimed AMC series which is set just a few years down the line. I happen to be a big fan of the series and I cant help notice the striking similarities between the two. A suburban household comprising of an attractive couple and two children. The husband works in the city and catches a train everyday, the wife is a housewife who was once a model and they have girl and a boy. Remove the ad agency part of Mad Men and what you get is Revolutionary Road. Both have been know to be accurate representation of the times and I guess it is how those times were with people cheating on their spouses, puffing as chimneys, drinking like fish, always lost in thought trying to discover their true selves and hardly talking to each other in the process. They were some painful times and hence very rich material for brilliant fiction.
Back to Revolutionary Road, Sam Mendes did a fine job by not letting the movie linger too long at any point of time and slowly yet strongly building up the friction between the lead pair. The costume and set designs were spot on. But the movie is only as good and brilliant as its plot and how well it challenges the viewer. I guess this one reaches a fairly high mark for its premise. If you can stand heavy drama definitely for you, or else you will ask me what was the point?
update: As my friend Chaitanya pointed out and I had noticed while watching the movie but failed to mention was the haunting background score which did a great job in building up steam for the high tension sequences and also considerable chunks of this 2 hour movie were left without any sound which only added to the scenes.

Rating: 8/10
p.s: Kate Winslet was breathtakingly beautiful in the movie.

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