What are your thoughts on Revolutionary Road? Ever since I saw it it’s been nagging at me for a second viewing but I also can’t quite let go of how disappointed I was. I have no particular love or hate for Sam Mendes but as I was watching the film I couldn’t help but think how much better it would have been if Cassavetes had directed it. And even though I think the composed style of Kaminsky’s photography (in this case) was a great idea on paper — the idea of creating a stable frame, a sort of glass box, for the actors to fall apart within — I think it may have backfired in execution because of the lackluster performances by the actors.
And speaking of the actors, I think that was a massive casting mistake. The whole “Leo & Kate Together Again” thing destroyed any chance I had of watching the two of them portray regular people feeling disappointed by their typical life. Instead I had “the couple from Titantic” rammed down my throat. I didn’t think they fit together well then and I’m even less convinced now. Their pairing smacked of how Tom & Nicole ruined EWS for me.
Anyhow, maybe I should read the book and then give the film another go.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this film?
Oh, and to reinforce my argument about the casting just read Heather5565’s comment about the trailer on YouTube:
leo and kate are so adorable together.
i love this movie.
What?! Are you sure you’re not talking about Titanic?
Even though I’m basically talking to myself I’m going to post another comment here.
I watched Revolutionary Road again and yup, same thing. Missed its mark. Such a shame because the trailer was very promising:
I disagree with you 100%… some of the best film acting I’ve ever seen (from the two leads), and excellent visual choices by Mendes.
It is also a faithful and strong adaptation of the novel (which happens to be my all-time favorite book).
The only high point of the film was Micheal Shannon.
I agree with Mike. I absolutely loved it. I thought it was wonderfully made throughout…especially the first 15 mins and in the last scenes. The first two scenes in the movie; the party scene and then the play sequence at the high-school showed more about a couple’s relationship than many movies show in the entire running time.
And I loved how they used that great technique of: “jump into a scene late and leave it early” during the play sequence. As soon as the scene starts, the curtain falls on the end of the performance and you get April’s glance at her husband right before it falls, knowing the play’s result and seemingly begging for his approval, and then his responding look. Extremely simple, elegant, and engaged me instantly.
I could go on and on about the movie. I really think it’s underrated.
And by the way to the original poster: Janusz Kaminski was not the cinematographer, it was Roger Deakins.
I’ve rarely seen a person dislike a film as much as Michael Tully openingly loathed Revolutionary Road. His review of the film is a rather brilliant and impassioned plea/rant to Hollywood/God/the ghost of Yates, and it’s definitely worth reading. It’s certainly over the top, but he’s clearly coming from a place of absolute devotion to the source material and isn’t afraid of letting you know that.
Check it out here
As for me, I didn’t find the film a crime against humanity as Mr. Tully up there seems to argue, but I did feel it to be a failure in terms of an adaptation of the near perfect novel, and a rather bland film over all. Then again, I’ve yet to see a single Mendes film that I’ve enjoyed, and I’ve seen them all with the exception of Away We Go.
What Richard said – the first minutes of the film are very powerful and brutally honest. You never know what to expect, when a director is working with their spouse; and I was no great fan of Mendes’ before seeing this film. But DiCaprio is a staggering talent (as he showed in The Aviator, a film I’m not too fond of), and the pain in the film is real. It’s the very opposite of American Beauty, with none of the salacious neo-Peyton Place bullshit that mars Mendes’ first, contrived, naive film.
After seeing this wretched film I was surprised that the source material was so respected. Tully’s article convinces me that the book may be worthwhile. Leave it to Mendes to ruin something special. The film is, almost from the very beginning, just oozing with simple-minded cynicism about how dark our lives are.
I don’t blame the leads and Michael Shannon is very talented. I am leaving all the blame to Mr. Winslet.
I thought the acting was great, though I thought the dialogue was a little…subpar. Either it was the dialogue or the timing of those few lines of dialogue that seemed off. Either way, I love this movie.
Obviously the person who made it what it is is Michael Shannon
Funny you should mention Cassavettes, Aaron, because I was reminded of him while watching this movie. It is a film that doesn’t sugar coat anything and risks alienating its audience by doing so. I found that both of the lead characters had valid points of view and I related to both of them. For me that was the key feature that allowed me to connect to the movie and really appreciate it.
I agree with you, Zach Wise. I will probably re-watch this film one day just to see Michael Shannon’s performance one more time.
Jon Jost has some harsh words to say about this one too.
I enjoyed the movie, although I can understand Michael Tully’s hatred, considering it’s his “favorite book ever.” I really don’t understand the desire of directors to adapt great novels into film; they’re already great in their own medium, there’s no need to do anything more. It would be like adapting Breathless into novel form. There are so many aspects which simply don’t translate, and to even try would be offensive to many people – myself included. This is also how I feel about the adaptation of “Blood Meridian.” Bastards.
The screenplay is excellent for this: a masterful rendering of a formula 3 act structure without feeling clunky and forced, and a fine reduction of key elements from the book. Unfortunately, Sam Mendes is the reverse celluloid alchemist of our day, turning gold into pure shit. It doesn’t work: feels like a clockwork film, and halfway through you can hear Mendes noisily winding the mechanism for a dénouement.
Michael Tully’s hatred is unwarranted. I’ve read the book twice (it’s my favorite novel of all time), and at the very least the film is faithful on a superficial level. I would argue that it’s faithful on every level.
Another excellent movie snubbed by Academy Award. Flawless acting.
the movie felt like oscar bait, although the story was in fact very powerful. leo just gets on my nerves sometimes. but like someone else already mentioned, michael shannon was the best thing about this movie.
The book is a masterpiece, the film fell quite short. Mendes chose a cinematography style much too pretty and flawless for the brutally honest tone of the story.
The performances were brilliant but Michael Shannon is the only one who really tapped into that tone imo.
“I’ve read the book twice (it’s my favorite novel of all time), and at the very least the film is faithful on a superficial level. I would argue that it’s faithful on every level.”
I’ll grant you that the film is faithful on a superficial level, Mike, but there’s a crackling wit at work in Yates’s voice, with its lucid and lovely digressions and parentheticals, that is missing in the film adaptation. I agree with Machiko about Michael Shannon’s brilliant turn.
It’s the first film I saw with DiCaprio, where DiCaprio wasn’t playing DiCaprio, he was finally playing a believable character. I liked this film, and afterwards decided I was no longer going to automatically boycott a movie simply because DiCaprio was in it. For me, he redeemed himself in Revolutionary Road.
The best thing I’ve seen DiCaprio do. Great film, Mendes best by a lot.