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Revolutionary Road (2008)

July 22, 2009

4/10 Screaming Matches

Boy, I can’t wait to move to the suburbs!

Revolutionary Road is about a husband and a wife living in suburbia in the 1950s. The husband hates his job, the wife hates what her life has become, but they both keep on doing it because that’s the hand they were dealt. Then one day, they decide they’re going to move to Paris in two months, leave their shitty life behind and start anew.

Not going to give anything away, but I think we all know where this is going.

The movie starts out with Kate Winslet bombing a role in a local play and the rest of movie kind of just continues with that on-running theme. Most of the movie is spent with Kate and Leo yelling at each other about the same thing time after time, but it’s very strange to watch because none of it feels genuine. It’s as though the audience is sitting in an theater house watching this couple act out a play rather than being granted an inside look into their lives. Emotions change at the flip of a switch, a good deal of the dialogue is forced, and after a while it all just feels…strange.

But what’s truly strange to me about this whole thing is that it’s directed by Sam Mendes, the guy who did American Beauty – the best movie about life in the suburbs that said all there was to be said on the subject. Kinda weird to go back to a topic you’ve already nailed, it’s not like you’re going to make it better by placing it in the ’50s. Weird move is all.

And is it just me or is Leonardo DiCaprio doing the exact same thing in nearly every movie he’s in? He keeps on making the same vein-popping, strained faces, yells a lot while waving his arms around, lurches his head forward in order to make a point, gets over-emotional about everything, and is trying really, really hard to shake the fact that we still remember he was Jack in Titanic. He was awesome in Catch Me If You Can, but I don’t know, folks. I’m not buying the charade.

Do a comedy or something, man. Just chill out for a bit. People will forget someday.

But Kate Winslet is good. I can see why she won the Oscar, because she is a legitimately good actress, but with the exception of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I feel like she’s been playing the same kinda role for a while now, too. She’s better than Leo, but she could afford to sign up for some lighter fare as well.

The best actor in the movie is actually this guy, Michael Shannon. He’s got a somewhat minor role here, and he’s another one of those guys that you might recognize but can’t pin a name to the face, but he’s great as one of the few voices of reason in the movie that doesn’t seem like they’re getting stage directions from Mendes at all times.

Other than that, the music is good, it’s a cool little time capsule back to a generation far different than today’s, Kathy Bates has a small role (Kathy Bates kicks ass), and there are a couple good scenes in there to break up all the constant bitching and moaning.

It’s not that bad, but unless you’re a huge Kate and Leo fan or are in the mood for this kind of thing, I’m gonna suggest you go ahead and skip Revolutionary Road and just go watch American Beauty instead. Doesn’t matter if you’ve seen it already, that movie’s good every time.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2009 6:15 pm

    Hahahaha your so true about Leo, that’s basically what he does in every movie. I think if there was a film for Winslet to win an Oscar for it should have been this and Michael Shannon, aka big bad white guy from 8-mile, does a terrific job and he is what brings the film its best drama. Still I have to disagree and say this should have at least gotten an 7 because though it doesn’t measure up to American Beauty, which I’m sure never will happen, it still does show a tremendous heartbreak story.

    • Aiden R permalink*
      July 23, 2009 9:06 pm

      Eh, it was all too predictable for me. It was like watching a soap opera after a while. Not my thing, not Mendes’ best thing either. At least it was better than Jughead.

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