Saturday, May 23, 2009

Revolutionary Road.

Revolutionary Road (2008) is not the movie for you, if you're searching for feel-good romance, or light-hearted comedy, or even witty dialogues. It has none of that. Instead, it gives you a rather realistic look at marriage, and shows how it can be anything but a bed of roses. Frank and April Wheeler have been married for around seven years, have a lovely big house, two children, Frank has a job in New York City - but all's not well. Their marriage is falling apart, Frank hates his job, April is struggling with the fact that she was never able to make it as an actress, and the complication of life seems to be closing in on them. Their plan to move to Paris for a better and happier life does not work out, but April wants to escape from the horror her life has become, at whatever cost.

I have seen one other movie directed by Sam Mendes, which was American Beauty, and that too, dealt with a similar theme- how a life that seems perfect can actually be far from it. Revolutionary Road is perhaps an inversion of the illusion of the American Dream. It portrays how life can bring with it marital and emotional collapse, job dissatisfaction, and a pervading sense of unhappiness.

Leonardo DiCaprio, it is needless to say, has matured tremendously as an actor. I found it hard to believe this was the same actor who played pretty-boy-Jack-Dawson in Titanic. Kate Winslet is simply brilliant. Her dialogue deliveries are right on cue, with just the right emotion, and her expressions are flawless. Truly one of the best actors in the industry today. Together, they are dynamite - their chemistry is wonderful. And here I shall make special mention of Michael Shannon, who plays the neighbour's mentally unbalanced son, but who seems to talk more sense than expected from a madman.

Revolutionary Road is a very powerful movie, one that explores the pressures and dilemmas of suburban life. The artistic sets, the costumes, and the music score are just about perfect as well. Perhaps the ending is a little too dramatic, but then again, perhaps it is the only way the movie could have ended. Frank and April represent each one of us, who have often thought that things will work out, that we shall be happy and content, only to find out life is much more twisted than that. It's a very honest film that forces you to rethink your idea of 'a perfect life', and urges you to reconsider whether anyone truly gets their 'happily ever after' ending.

12 comments:

Sambit said...

the ending is priceless.
dicaprio is as strong an actor as winslet, just that he hasnt been recognized that much. the aviator, the departed, gangs of new york, catch me if you can.. a treat to watch.
and the abortion sequence gave me goosebumps.
the entire cast deserves some kind of recognition for this film.

What's In A Name ? said...

Reassuring to find someone who liked the movie as much as I did. Friends found it a morose documentary of post-recession America and middle-class marital conflicts.
I managed to find more meaning in it.

Posted a review sometime back here:
http://caesar-caesar.blogspot.com/2009/01/revolutionary-road.html

P.S - Do watch "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" if you manage to get hold of it.

Magically Bored said...

@ Sambit: DiCaprio is a great actor, I loved him in Catch Me If You Can and Gangs Of New York. Too bad this movie didn't get the recognition it deserves.

@ What's In A Name: Yes, somehow a lot of people I know find this movie shallow and pretentious. Truth is, there's a lot more depth to it. Shall try and get hold of The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, and shall read your review.

Brainless said...

There are certain movies which makes me restless...There are certain movies which depresses me to no end.....there are certain movies which makes me take up the mantle of that ultracool/fool hero...0___0.. I think after watching this I was not sure what to do... Kate Winslet..I always have had a soft corner for her acting prowess...Yes Leo has matured as an actor..
I would say Mendes' Road to Perdition.. the depression-era movie is his best...people might just refute my claim...


A nice well garnished review...Its always a pleasure to read your reviews..its simple yet has the desired impact in the readers mind...:).......

Magically Bored said...

@ Brainless: I have not seen Road To Perdition, but I shall, soon. And thank you. :)

Minka said...

I'm glad u reviewed Revolutionary Road.It's one of the most powerful films i'v seen in recent times.

I didn't think the ending was too dramatic.Rather it was very subtle.In the final shot u see Kathy Bates droning on about the new neighbours and her husband gradually turns down the sound level of his hearing aid.The scene captures the monotony of American suburban life and brilliantly sums up the film.

The film deals with the America of the late 50s.Most films tend to cash in on the hooplah surrounding the vibrant 60s and 70s.This film is in that sense unusual.It presents us with a realistic picture of the generation that came before the baby-boomers and the flower children.

Sougata said...

Its a strange idiosyncrasy of human nature that tries to disguise the blues and expose the sunshine. I am horrible at keying in structured paragraphs and make them meaningful, actually I dislike it. Then too I started writing blogs, to be busy, I tried so sound funny when I was actually sad.
I liked this movie. I like kate winslet and DiCaprio.Well most of my friends actually liked it.Good post.

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BluEJoKe said...

One of the most substantive films of all time.... Questions living/being/bearing/parenting and the like...
will keep n eye on u...


and review me lady... http://blot-my-blues.blogspot.com/

Riddhi G.D said...

Oh My god. i haven't seen a movie that depressed me as much as this for a Long, long while. Smashes to smithereens the illusion of a happy ever-after. The last scene really was brilliant.

Magically Bored said...

@ Minka: Yes, precisely. The ending is very powerful. And very realistic, somehow.

@ Sougata: Good point, and thank you.

@ BlueJoke: Thanks.

@ Riddhi GD: This movie depressed you? You should watch A Clockwork Orange. :P