Monday, January 05, 2009

"We can be happy here."

I saw Revolutionary Road the other day.  And then I wanted to retreat from society and never talk to another living soul.

The film reunites Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, two excellent actors whose post-Titanic careers have been full of great films, and the story could not be more different from Titanic, except for the whole doomed and fated tragedy part.  Both actors are truly at the tops of their games here as a young couple, Frank and April Wheeler, coming to terms with abandoned hopes, the shattered American Dream, and stuck lives.  DiCaprio's portrayal of Frank's anger, pain, and sorrow grabbed ahold of me, and Winslet portrays April's passion and bitterness superbly.  

Don't let this shot fool you . . . 

A standout minor role was that of John Givings, a mentally unstable visitor played by Michael Shannon.  He adds much needed comic relief, but also a heavy dose of tragic truth.  Kathy Bates (another Titanic survivor) plays John's mother, and she is very good as usual.

Director Sam Mendes (Winslet's real-life husband), who made one of my favorite films in American Beauty, mines similar territory here, and his skillful work brings this depressing story to life, along with a wonderfully haunting score by Thomas Newman and cinematography by a true master, Roger Deakins.

While one of the best films of the year, Revolutionary Road is a hard film to "like" because it really can suck the life out of a viewer.  It is sad but revealing, and performed brilliantly.  I kept wondering how this film was going to end, not in terms of plot but in terms of direction and camera work; what image will we be left with when all is said and done?  And the choice astounds--the seemingly random final scene ends the film on a powerful, darkly humorous, dreadfully true note, and for me this final moment shone new light on the previous two hours.


At 10:34 PM, Blogger matt posited...

not even this is in fargo. i live in a cultural abyss.


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