Director: Sam Mendes

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Michael Shannon

The Buzz: Nominated in Best Supporting Actor, Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction categories

The Run:  Won Golden Globe for Best Actress (Drama) 


Fast-Food Cassavetes

Fast-Food Cassavetes

No established director’s filmography seems to be complete without a familial drama. This year is the turn of Academy Award winning theatre director Sam Mendes. Revolutionary Road follows the happy married life of a couple, played by Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, gradually disintegrating to debris. The lead pair reunite 11 years after Titanic (1997), proving that if the iceberg doesn’t get you, marriage will.

First off, Revolutionary is damn riveting. You are hooked to the screen even if the dispute between the couple seems redundant and outright silly.  The performances are generally convincing but that’s strictly a matter of subjectivity (Imagine, both of them got nominations in the Golden Globe, snubbed by the Academy). But what hurts is Mendes’ heavy-handed execution of the plot. He seems to show us how empty the lives are and how fake their passions are – a theme that’s 50 years old. Mendes knows this and cleverly places his film in that era. But he derives the film rather than letting it evolve. Every scene exists not because they are beautiful by themselves, but because they are the cause to the next. Each one seems calculatingly placed in order to push forth the stale state of affairs. He cuts to the drama forcefully. One more. The Michael Shannon character is a consequence of Mendes’ supreme lack of confidence in his own direction. Where directors like Cassavetes and Antonioni left the audience on its own to grapple some meaning out of it all, Mendes safely verbalizes the lead pair’s opinions about each other through Shannon. And he hides this sham under the remarkable performance of Shannon and the unstable state of the character’s mind. 

I am still skeptic about the costumes in the film. The film seems to take place in the 1950’s. But I can’t believe that men still wore hats and blazers whenever they went out. Of course, this might have been researched before put into execution. But what if it wasn’t? Revolutionary Road still makes up for a decent drama for anyone willing to witness something shallow yet grave, depressing and absorbing. Kate and Leo, that’s why you shouldn’t carry on with acquaintances from journeys!