Revolutionary Road Sam Mendes

Revolutionary Road Sam Mendes
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet reunite as the troubled Wheelers in this faithful adaptation of Richard Yates's novel. The Wheelers are a couple living in mid-'50s suburban Connecticut who have two lovely kids, a respectable job and a big house, yet find something lacking. A trapped, lonely housewife, April (Winslet) wants to move to Paris and start anew. Frank (DiCaprio) agrees to her plan but loses his nerve when he's offered a promotion at a firm he detests. At times, the story's direction is unclear and some scenes wear their subtext on their sleeve, but strong characterization overcomes these flaws to deliver a haunting film. No character is a villain or hero and all are complex. The acting excels across the board - Winslet should've won the Oscar for this performance instead of for The Reader. Her chemistry with Dicaprio feels real and unnerving. Michael Shannon as a mentally ill neighbour is genuinely creepy, while Kathy Bates as his vacant mother delivers another flawless performance. The DVD includes everything but the source novel itself. The making-of featurette, "Lives of Quiet Desperation," does a particularly fine job detailing the casting and production design processes. Visually, the film perfectly captures the drab conformity of post-war American, where men wore grey flannel suits to work while their wives tended to their empty, but picture-perfect, houses. The six deleted scenes are strong and must have been difficult for director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Jarhead and Winslet's real-life hubby) to cut. The outtakes, as well as the entire film, feature concise and informative commentary by director Sam Mendes and screenwriter Justin Haythe. Both creators frequently refer to Yates's source novel and discuss theme and characterization instead of tossing out amusing production titbits. This is a generous DVD of a superb movie. (Paramount)