Revolutionary Road Review

Revolutionary Road Review
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Michael Shannon, Kathryn Hahn, David Harbour, Dylan Baker, Richard Easton, Zoe Kazan
Director: Sam Mendes
Screenplay: Justin Haythe (screenplay), Richard Yates (novel)
Genre: Drama
Rated: M Mature themes, coarse language and sex scenes
Running Time: 119 Minutes

How Do You Break Free Without Breaking Apart?

Synopsis:Adapted from the landmark novel by Richard Yates, director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) reunites Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in this incisive portrait of a 1950s American marriage which poses the question which has been reverberating through modern relationships every since: can two people break away from the ordinary without breaking apart. Following their marriage April and Frank move into their new home in Revolutionary Road, but despite their best intentions they find themselves becoming exactly what they didn't want: a good man with a routine job who has lost his nerve and a less than happy homemaker starved of fulfilment. They hatch an audacious plan to start all over again but each spouse is pushed to extremes, one to escape whatever the cost and the other to save all that the have, whatever the cost.

My Verdict:
April (Kate Winslet) meets Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio), they marry full of dreams but soon discover they are trapped in an unfulfilling mediocre suburban life on Revolutionary Road, in Connecticut. As they attempt to make sense of their pedestrian life and change its direction, events catapult it into a tragedy even they could not foresee.

Kate Winslet is stunning as April Wheeler. Torn between settling for her suburban life and wanting more, April bites the bullet and re-ignites the dream she and Frank had of a grander life in Paris which given the decade (1950s), is an extraordinary leap met with surprise and negativity by others. Winslet has the fortitude to carry April throughout giving her plucky character the necessary strength. Likewise, Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Wheeler. He too faces the dilemma of being trapped in a job he despises, despite his efforts to incorporate some life into it, courtesy of co-worker Maureen (Zoe Kazan). Coupled with Winslet, they make a credible duo desperately trying to slot into suburbia.

Attention to detail is evident throughout - watching the Wheelers entertain is faithful to the era with April perched neatly on the edge of the lounge offering canap├ęs whilst Franks delivers drinks from the bar, the conservative conversations bordering on (deliberately) boring. It is when the Wheelers entertain their real estate agent and new friend, Helen Givings (an impressive Kathy Bates), her husband and their son that the tension really becomes palpable. It is these provocative visits from the Givings that ultimately stir an almighty emotionally simmering pot belonging to the Wheelers.

Much of the time is spent watching April and Frank in conversation, often resulting in shouting matches complete with insults and accusations. These sometimes harrowing scenes could prove tedious, but they are kept honest thanks to Winslet and DiCaprio.

Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kathy Bates reunite after previously working together on Titanic (1997) and are an impressive trio that combine here to create a winner based on their talent. When director Sam Mendes takes on a drama, that's what you get - a remarkable feature that continually climbs the emotional ladder, scaling it in escalating levels until it explodes. Based on the 1961 novel by Richard Yates and set in the 1950's, Revolutionary Road is a tough journey that Mendes keeps neatly taut, rarely letting it drift. Tough, powerful and demanding, it is nonetheless satisfying thanks to high calibre of the cast.

Rating : ****

Christina Bruce


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