Revolutionary Road In Review
I Should've Skipped It
Over the weekend, I went to see a preview showing of the new Kate Winslet/Leonardo DiCaprio movie, Revolutionary Road. Like many people who went to see Titanic, I always wanted to see Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio work together again. When I heard that they were going to be in the film adaptation of Richard Yates's novel, I anxiously awaited its release. Watching the movie, I was thirteen again and kept picturing them as Jack and Rose. To use a cliche, their chemistry is palpable. Aside from a few wrinkles on Winslet's face that I'll chalk up to her smoking, it's uncanny how untouched by time they are. Returning to twenty-four, I started to pay attention to the current movie.
Revolutionary Road is the story of a young (late twenties/early thirties) couple, April (Winslet) and Frank (DiCaprio) Wheeler, from Connecticut who seem to lose their passion for life and for each other when they are sucked into the routine of suburban life. April, who once dreamt of becoming an actress, is now a stifled housewife. Frank, who dreamt of a more exotic life, has become a company man like his late father. The reviews I had read about the film said that it was two great performances and a few good scenes, but a very poor movie. I thought that the reviewers were too harsh, until yesterday.
Though I sense the movie is supposed to feel uneven because of the story line, the extent of it is too much to handle. Yes, Winslet and DiCaprio do turn in some good performances. However, you never believe for a second that this is real. You are aware at all times that they are actors playing roles. You can almost see the script on the side of the screen. "At this point, Leo throws a glass and screams loudly about not feeling like a man." " At this point, Kate looks disoriented and cries like women do when they feel...well...disoriented." From the beginning, you know that their plans are going to go down the tubes. From the moment Kathy Bates's character says she has a son (played to insane perfection by Michael Shannon), you know that he's going to cause trouble. It felt like the director, Winslet's husband, Sam Mendes, gave each actor an emotion to portray and forbad them to use more than that one. It's a waste of time and money to watch a movie where the actors are trying so hard to play to the writer's description of the character and the director's view of the character that they don't even attempt to make the character feel human.
Kate Winslet has said repeatedly in interviews for this movie that she waited for the right project to come along for her to work with DiCaprio again. Though she clearly felt that this was the right project, I wish she had waited a little longer. It was a waste of their talent. Plain and simple.
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