A solid film that brings up some interesting ideas.
I think the acting is a bit wooden at times.In the tradition of John Cassavetes (just not nearly as deep, gritty or dirty) Revolutionary Road les marriage in the most blunt way Director Sam Mendes can. Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April (Kate Winslet) Wheeler play a married couple with kids. Set in the 1950s where everything looks and was supposed to be perfect, we soon come to realize that there is a disconnect between our main characters. When they first got together everything was great. They dreamed of a life filled with traveling and adventure. Then reality set in. They had kids, more responsibilities and soon all of those plans fell by the wayside. What this movie focuses on is just how big the void is between our main characters and can it ever be filled?
Sam Mendes and Screenwriter Justin Haythe do the commentary track duties here and I have to admit that I was left a bit wanting. I am not sure that this movie really even needed a commentary track. Like American Beauty (which everyone claimed had this deep message that was overtly easy to spot), nothing about Revolutionary Road conceals itself. Even when Mendes and Haythe talk about the somewhat non-linear timeline, I found it hard to believe that they realistically thought they were challenging the audience.
Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary Track
Lives of Quiet Desperation
In this making of we get an EPK-type look at the making of this movie. While I thought that this was interesting, even more interesting would have been a fly on the wall documentary. I am thinking shaky camera and all. As it is we get a pretty pedestrian look at this movie where the major players sit back and discuss their roles on the project, working together, the material and the usual things that are talked about on these pieces.
Widescreen Version - Enhanced for 16:9 TVs. Having seen this movie in the theater and now on DVD, I was struck by how good this film looked in both of my screenings. I am not saying that this film worked better on DVD, I was more impressed by how little this movie seemed to lose in the transfer process. This film is filled with blacks, whites, off-whites and light, and none of that ever feels pixilated of hindered by the compression that was utilized for this DVD.
Dolby Digital: English, French and Spanish 5.1 Surround. Subtitled in English, French and Spanish. This movie sounded good. As I mentioned earlier, the performances seemed kind of wooden and that naturally lent this movie a sort of hollow feel. I hate to keep harping on this point but I think it was pretty clear that 1950s were a facade. Beneath the perfect exteriors, things were just as messed up as they are today. It would have been nice if somehow the audio could've been a character to help convey this.
This white filled front cover features Winslet and DiCaprio with their eyes closed going in a for a smooch. The back cover gives us three shots from the film, critic's quotes, a description of this movie, a Special Features listing, a cast list and the obligatory technical specs.
All in all Revolutionary Road is a well done film. While the acting at times feels just like that... acting, I have to applaud Sam Mendes for making a film that makes bold statements, says what it has to say and never shies away from its convictions. I could have done without the score for the film, which seemed to pop up almost on cue in almost all the weighty scenes. I also feel that it might have been better to have had a bit more backstory on our characters, so that we might better understand how they have gotten to have so many problems.
Ultimately, Revolutionary Road works because it doesn't offer any easy answers. Like relationships we see moments where this one could work, moments where it doesn't work, and moments where it simply tries to allow itself to be.