Saturday, August 7, 2010

Revolutionary Road Is A Strange Film

I watched Revolutionary Road recently. You know Revolutionary Road, right? Sam Mendes' adaptation of Richard Yates' acclaimed 1962 novel of the same name? Starred two Oscar-winners and an Oscar nominee? Didn't do very well commercially, but the critics loved it?

Yeah, you've probably never heard of it.

I mean, since you're all so imaginary, you probably haven't heard of much.

Is it strange that I write a blog for imaginary readers? It seems like a small step from talking to myself.

Anyway--Revolutionary Road.

Interesting film. It wasn't a narrative film; but it wasn't a "character piece". It was more about a relationship than anything. The relationship between Frank and April Wheeler is so alive, so deep and richly-constructed, that it almost functions as a character by itself.

I was talking with an associate of mine--the one who lent me the film, in fact--and complaining to him about the fragmented nature of the narrative. He pointed out that the question of the film isn't "will they move to France?" or "will she self-abort?" but "can their relationship survive?"

I don't think I've ever seen such a strange film. Kathy Bates and Kate Winslet give great performances, especially Winslet. Funny; I've always hated Kate Winslet, because she annoys me...but in Revolutionary Road, she was really awesome. Not that I liked her character; but her performance was consistent and sensitive.

As much as I liked Winslet's performance--and Michael Shannon's Oscar-nominated turn--I dislike DiCaprio's more and more as I continue to think about it. One reviewer mentioned the film's careful adherence to '50s parlance--slang, in particular--and DiCaprio's lines are the most '50s-ish. For some reason, though, his emotional development throughout the film is spotty. It seems that he has three modes: angry, puzzled, and serious. He switches between these logically, but predictably, and that ultimately cripples his character, in my mind.

I enjoyed Revolutionary Road--if "enjoyed" is the right word. Perhaps I should say that I was impressed by Revolutionary Road. It's an impressive movie; the Wheelers' unique relationship kept me engrossed, and the top-notch supporting cast helped mask DiCaprio's somewhat shallow performance. I'd rate it 7.5/10.

Long live careful fiilmmaking!

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