A Revolution in Acting
After Kate Winslets recent victories at the Golden globes (best supporting actress for “The Reader” and best actress for “Revolutionary Road”) I thought I should write up a short review of “Revolutionary Road.”
Let me start off by saying this: the movie is all about the acting. The acting is pitch-perfect (I love that term). DiCaprio and Winslet show what they’re made of. Winslet uses her internal struggles, her eyes and her body language like no other actress has in a film so deeply routed in an era when that was how a woman spoke. While DiCaprio is more forward, direct and brutally honest with his words. It is how the relationship is meant to be. Winslet is stuck in her mind and body wondering how to escape, while DiCaprio shows us, brings us into the world of the fledgling husband.
Then there is Michael Shannon. He is the conscious in the film. he speaks his mind. He speaks the truth, and tells the audience that what they are feeling is okay, we should feel that way too. He is also a troubled man, but is this trouble what makes him so trustworthy and understanding. his lack of compassion is refreshing here. Shannon even out shines Winslet on the screen and overshadows the film with uncomfortable and unnerving laughs from the older generations in the theatre. They know, the audience, that what he is saying is true but is it necessary? Could these two make it through life with the unhappy 50’s marriage because society dictates that, if it weren’t for his presence?
I should get the to story. It is simple: two lovers get involved and have great aspirations. they never fulfill these aspirations but rather get stuck in the times. they have two children, buy a house in the ‘burbs, and don’t live happily ever after. Wife challenges husband, husband challenges wife, and all falls apart. You know it won’t work from the get-go. So don’t tell me I’m giving anything away.
The film moves seamlessly. Mendes uses theatrical direction and feel for the film. shooting it in close to sequential order, allowing the characters and actors to develop alongside one another. This gives the film an authentic feeling. It also gives the actors a chance to build their characters and work up for the big fights. Mendes, most widely known for “American Beauty” has suburban America in his pocket at this point. He knows the colors that resonate to the eye of suburbia. He has the lawns down, the trimmed hedges, bushes and flowers. The reds and whites stand out. The cars shine, and the kids play in sprinklers and have doll houses. He knows just what a living room situation is and the boring dialogue that goes with it. He is a master of this place, and he knows it and shows it.
The film is superb. The only warning I have is this: it is not a great “date movie” unless you really want to test. It shows the uncomfortable side to a relationship, the places none of us want to go. But the movie is not one to see alone either. It needs to be discussed after.
I can’t wait to pick up Yates’s novel (the movie is based on his so-called masterpiece) either.