Monday, January 12, 2009

How Do You Break Free Without Breaking Apart?

Here it is the movie that reunites Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio for the first time since Titanic, here is Revolutionary Road.
The film is set in 1955 and focuses on Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet), who are a couple who have set aside their lives to raise their children in the suburbs of Connecticut, on a road named Revolutionary.
The first scene into their married life we see has April as an aspiring actress, whose play flops and we start to see some tension between the two. On the surface the Wheeler’s look like a perfect couple, but behind closed doors they are fed up with their lives and each other.
This leads to April’s realization that the life they both lead is a life they never wanted and she remembers a time where they were happy and also a specific moment where Frank brings up his passionate feelings about Paris.
This gives April an idea and she gives Frank a proposal for them and their children to leave Connecticut and Revolutionary Road behind and start anew in Paris.
Frank, who hates his job, likes this idea and this one idea, this one opportunity to escape breathes new life into their relationship.
Problems begin to occur once again, when Frank gets a promotion and his salary is increased. This causes him to become less captivated by his wife’s proposal and he starts to see a life on Revolutionary Road. Of course April still feels they should still move to Paris and Frank should turn down the job. We see Frank saying one thing to his wife’s face, but once her back is turned we can see him really thinking about what he should do.
Things only get more complicated when April finds out she’s pregnant and knows that this could damper their escape, so she plans on getting rid of the unborn child, but Frank doesn’t want her to. This brings back the tension in their relationship and the arguments and the frustration reach a new height.
I’m not to get any further into the story, there are also a lot of things that happen in between that I would consider major spoilers and won’t reveal them to you, just in case you haven’t seen the movie.
Now the problems I had with this movie is the emptiness and bleakness that plaque the middle section of the story. The strongest points to me were the first ten minutes, which included the first fight between Frank and April and once the movie gets out of its boring second act we see the couple being engulfed once again by their problems and that’s where the movie picks up and stays up until the end.
I know that the movie is about the dullness of suburban life, but American Beauty (directed by the same person, Sam Mendes) was about that too and that was done in a more interesting approach and I think Revolutionary Road failed to capture the true essence of the source material it was based off of.
Ok with all the negative out let’s look at what positive things this movie has to offer. One thing that really carries this film is the performance by Kate Winslet; I didn’t care too much for Leo in his role, just something about him saying “swell” didn’t seem natural. Winslet is more than outstanding in her role as a bored housewife and the scenes with her fighting DiCaprio, she just trumps him, thinking of it, she trumps in all their scenes together.
Also, the movie is very beautiful to look at, not as pretty as American Beauty or Road to Perdition, which is because the Director of Photograph for those two movies passed away, but still the film is able to showcase some beautiful shots.
All in all the film is a good movie, it’s not a great movie and it does have some short comings. Fans of the source material might be a little upset with the adaptation not being as grand as the book, but honestly have we ever been fully happy with any adaptations? The book will always be better than the movie.


1 comment:

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