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Revolutionary Road Review

“"I Want To Feel Things. Really Feel Them."”

November 24th, 2010

Revolutionary Road is one of the glitziest depressing movies I've ever seen. The film wanders around the world of its characters, loudly presenting every issue at hand. On a positive note, it is well-handled, smartly-balanced, and precise with what it wants to say. The film bypasses conventional detours, presenting instead a realistic, throbbing viewpoint. Unfortunately, the movie is, how shall I put it...boring. I use that word in severe risk of sounding juvenile in my critique, but I hope the expansion of that critique proves otherwise.

Let me place the film where it stands. It's 1950's America. Frank and April Wheeler are happily married in the most modular way--they have the perfect home, perfect community, perfect kids. They live life "the American way". They aren't happy, though. Frank hates his job; April hates the routine. Spontaneously, she suggests that they leave for Paris. She will get a job there, and he will have time to figure out what he really wants to do with his life. They start planning their move. Work ties, miscommunication, and an undeniable sense of uncertainty create problems between both Alice and her dream and her husband.

The big selling point with Revolutionary Road is the reuniting of Titanic stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. I'll be the first to say that I felt they had little chemistry in that film, and they don't have any in this one either. Chemistry, however, isn't exactly a necessity in a film like this. Each star shines individually and neither outplay each other. Winslet gives the better performance, but, then again, her character is better written.

The camerawork for this picture is intensely intimate. The film never shies away from lingering on shots. The framing and colors are beautifully under-saturated. The rhythm of the picture is engrossing. The score is immersively rich. Revolutionary Road boasts many solid technical achievements.

Underneath every emotion in this picture, there is a consistent theme: breaking from conformity. Alice is upset that they have "bought into the same, ridiculous delusion" as everyone else about what they 'need'. What inspires every emotion in the picture is a desire to achieve a personal definition. They want to break free from conformity, but their ties with it hold more than they want to admit. They have been shaped by their fears of risk. This battle throughout the whole film is intriguing.

BUT. The filmmakers don't stick to this theme. The film wanders endlessly around trivial emotions about their love for each other, abortion, neighbors, and their breaking relationship. While all of these matters do come into play, the picture overemphasizes their individual worth. The film is really about their own personal battles, and should become reflected in these elements. Because the movie channels the reverse (using the underlying problem--conformity--to reflect the more generic issues--love, relationships, etc.), nothing pushes the movie. Nothing supports its ventures.

THAT is why the picture seems so tedious. The central point to this picture becomes scattered. Scenes drag on and on and on. We see things coming minutes before they are ever played out. Nothing ever catches us by surprise or sweeps us into emotional chaos. Revolutionary Road is so precise with its details that it leaves out the broad strokes of purpose and meaning.

This is a complex picture that drools with appeal--from its Oscar-caliber names to its high production values. Its complexity was its own curse. Revolutionary Road is a self-obsessed picture that secures solid results on many levels, but falls short on some of the most basic. This is a strongly-executed, misdirected picture.

19 comments

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  • moviegeek • 5 years ago

    Thank you! @BENZ

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    • BENZ • 5 years ago

      Man I hated Kate's character, poor Leo's doin all he can to make her happy and she's lettin the neighbour bang her lights out in the front seat of the caddy.

      Never the less it was an ok film, oh and top stuff on the review too, very impressive.

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      • moviegeek • 5 years ago

        @Supes ahaha. I learn new things every day I suppose :P The Reader was a much better film than this and gave Winslet a rightful win.

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        • daveactor7 • 5 years ago

          @Supes LOL

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          • dan1 • 5 years ago

            "Yes, now on this part, Leo, make it look like you are REALLY givin' it to my wife"... "Yes, just like that" :P

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            • daveactor7 • 5 years ago

              Well they split now lmao :P

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              • diaigma • 5 years ago

                ::with a Donkey voice:: "They never last, do they?" :P

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                • moviegeek • 5 years ago

                  Oh! @Dave I didn't realize they were married!? News to me. I ignore celebrity relationships for the most part ;P

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                  • moviegeek • 5 years ago

                    haha @Dave That's actually interesting. I would have found American Beauty 100x harder to shoot than anything in this film :P

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                    • daveactor7 • 5 years ago

                      @movie lol i mean when they were kissing. Sam Mendes (her husband) had a difficult-nvm lol

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                      • diaigma • 5 years ago

                        Thank goodness ;)

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                        • moviegeek • 5 years ago

                          @Dave they hardly had a love scene :P

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                          • daveactor7 • 5 years ago

                            lol Sam Mendes (the director) had a difficult time directing love scenes with Dicaprio and winslet in this movie

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                            • wichitagalzl • 5 years ago

                              Great review, very thorough and detailed :) I didn't really care much about watching this, but I may decide to put it in Netflix eventually :P

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                              • dan1 • 5 years ago

                                I like both actors, but I don't like them together.

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                                • moviegeek • 5 years ago

                                  Thank you :]

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                                  • diaigma • 5 years ago

                                    Never really had any desire to see this one. I got enough of Winslet and DiCaprio from the Big Boat Movie, but sweet review! :P

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                                    • dan1 • 5 years ago

                                      Great review :)

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                                      • daveactor7 • 5 years ago

                                        Good review :D

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