Revolutionary Road – Review

Winslet and DiCaprio together again, only this time it’s good!

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Director: Sam Mendes
Notable Cast:
Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kathy Bates

After a comic book adaptation and a war film, director Sam Mendes returns to the subject that launched his career with American Beauty: the struggle of suburban life. But by no means is that saying that Mendes is going back to the well. as Revolutionary Road is a powerfully emotional film that will leave you thinking about your own life long after the film is over.

Adapted from the 1961 novel by Richard Yates, Road follows the lives of a young couple in the 50’s, April and Frank Wheeler (Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio). Their story will not seem too unfamiliar to many. When they meet that are full of dreams and aspirations. None of which involves living in suburban Connecticut with two kids, April stuck at home and Frank stuck in a job he hates.

April’s dreams of becoming an actress have been shattered and Frank still doesn’t know what he wants out of life. They find a way out of their rut with renewed aspirations to escape the “hopeless emptiness” of suburbia and move to France. However an unexpected pregnancy and a promotion at work that could be too good to pass up begin to bring back the cracks.

It’s a simple story of a struggling family, but it is also so much more. Through the good and the bad both April and Frank are completely believable and relatable characters. This is without a doubt due to the phenomenal performances by Winslet and DiCaprio. From theif first argument you believe with no uncertainty that this is a married couple. Sure, most of us didn’t’ grow up in the 50’s, but the film transcends any generational gap, their problems are ones that still happen today.

This is a dark movie, from its unsettling score by Thomas Newman to the bleak drab cinematography by Roger Deakins, there is little hope offered by the aesthetic of the film. This fact may turn some off to the film, but those people will just be missing out on one of the best films of 2009. Sam Mendes certainly has a compelling understanding of the American family and with Yates source material he delivers what just might be his best film yet.


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