Monday, February 2, 2009

Revolutionary Road

MUST-SEE: (Sam Mendes) Before seeing this film, you really should fall in love with the book first. Written by Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road is truly an overlooked classic. The story is of April and Frank Wheeler, a young married couple fighting a monotonous threat of sweet suburban life, struggling to hold their relationship (and family) together despite their inner defeat. It's their dreams that suffer in this story, and their constant cry is that the "hopeless emptiness" of the American Dream are draining them of the potential they once had. The only way out, the only way to save their creativity and live happily and satisfied, is to move to Paris and allow themselves to be the interesting, "special," people they really are. Well executed on screen, tiny seams start to rip in this theory and plan. Is it that the couple are now comfortable in the monotony? Afraid of anything but the monotony and that a new exciting life would reveal they are in fact not special or interesting? And at last, are they so brainwashed, stuck in this life for so long, that they actually believe in the potential of this "sweet" and simple life? All of the above fire through Frank Wheeler's mind, brilliantly payed by an also overlooked Leonardo DiCaprio, sending him into contstant question of where he fits best in life. Is he better off here, knowing he is superior? Or is he superior once he leaves, proving his worth by choosing better? He is phenomenal as the tormented Frank Wheeler, able to simultaneously portray innocence and ignorance, enact fury and fear, and roll everything into one lovable, forgivable family man. Leo's ability to play someone so lost, but so confident in each moment, makes his performance one to sting your tearducts, knock the air from your lungs and hope, above all else, that happiness will somehow find this man. April Wheeler is played equally well by a mesmerizing Kate Winslet. Also overlooked by our friends at the Academy, Winslet has the uncanny ability to fire up an audience no matter the moral. As she empties April's eyes of emotion, drains her face of any light whatsoever, she draws fantastic reaction to something deeper, her spirit. April immediately takes hold of your soul, becomes a real person with genuine validity. Together Kate and Leo create a wrenching illustration of some of the saddest creatures ever spoken of. No two others could have served the late Richard Yates so well. His words and his motif jump off the page and onto the screen, leaving nothing out of order, nothing desired, and everything mundane and muted in vibrant implication, as it should be. Truly heartbreaking, Revolutionary Road is worth the gasp it gives your heart. Riveting performances and subtle tragedy make this one not to be overlooked in your own regard.

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