My Revolutionary Road Review
When I first heard about this film, I thought, "Oh cool. Another film with Kate and Leo. This should be good/interesting". Honestly, I really thought "good-slash-interesting", no joke. Seriously though, it was exciting to hear about, finally, a new film starring the two doomed Titanic lovers. Then, I heard more about the film; Sam Mendes, Kate Winslet's hubby, would be directing it. "That's fun", I thought. It would kinda be like Tim Burton directing his wife, Helena Bonham Carter, in Sweeney Todd. Except, it wasn't really. Sweeney had not contained any love scenes between Johnny Depp and Helena. Burton didn't have to stand by the camera, telling Helena, "Yeah, like that. Just lift your leg like so, so that Johnny here can put himself right there...". Sam Mendes, however, did. "Oh Leo, could you just move like so against my wife, it looks much better that way. Right, right. She likes it that way better...". Can anyone say..."awkward"? I knew that if I went to see this film, I would be feeling uncomfortable the whole time, thinking about poor Sam having to direct another man in how to "make love" to his own wife. Fortunately, feeling uncomfortable because of that little fact never became a problem. Staring from the very beginning of the film, I felt uncomfortable and it wasn't because of the "Directing You How to Have Sex With My Wife" instructional video. Needless to say, watching this film was similar to watching The Break-Up (Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn), but only if The Break-Up was a crayola drawing done by my baby cousin and Revolutionary Road was the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel done by Michelangelo. You catch my drift?
My choices, given to me by my life-partner and self-titled cuddle-buddy, Brett, were Doubt, Milk and Revolutionary Road. It was obvious from the start that my night was not going to be a happy-go-lucky Disney musical, but instead a depressing Schindler's List-sorta night. I could take the hit. There is little one would not do for one's special cuddle-buddy. But that's a story for another time...Anyway, I picked Rev Rd., curious despite myself to know if Kate and Leo still had that unnameable quality that drew so many sobs from me whilst watching Titanic so many years ago. Let me tell you, people, they still had it...and more.
I have to admit, I sat down in the theater expecting to be bored and depressed through most of the movie. Now, even I will tell you that's no way to approach a film, but I couldn't help it. From what I heard of the movie, I knew it would move at a relatively slow pace. And it did, at the beginning. I drifted off a bit as the movie started, wondering where in the hell this movie was going to end up and what the point of the plot was going to be. After a slow start, my mind no longer wandered and got thoroughly sucked into the uncomfortable, troubled and bland relationship between Kate and Leo's characters. You can say a lot about this film, but the one thing you can't say is that it doesn't draw forth any intense emotions. It speaks loudly and unexpectedly when a film about a normal, troubled couple getting through hard times (hello, can anyone say "dull"?) can draw forth any emotion besides boredom. The level of discomfort and shock and often ridiculousness is at times overwhelming. And let's face it, it was the acting. I mean, the screenplay was great but the only reason we felt anything besides tedium was due to Kate and Leo's supreme acting abilities. When Leo's character goes off on his raging tangent close to the end, I didn't know whether to cringe, cry or chuckle nervously. It was brilliant, quite honestly brilliant. The way the story is written and the way the actors play and feed off one another causes you to walk out of the theater wondering who you blame for the whole damn mess. Personally, I blamed Kate's character more (bi-polar bitch, anyone?) but I think Brett leaned more towards Leo's fault. Honestly, either one will do and in the end, it wasn't really the point of the film. What was the point, you ask me? Shoot, don't look at me. I have no idea and if I did, I would say it was to throw me into a deep depression for the rest of the night, as expected. But hey, that's the trademark of any Oscar worthy film, wouldn't you agree?
I just have to add, Michael Shannon is a genius. He plays this insane yet highly insightful neighbor's son and there would have been absolutely no action in this movie if it weren't for him. He was simultaneously helpful, hurtful, kind and cruel and it made for some of the only funny scenes in the film. He was what you would call the comic-relief and thank God for him.
I don't usually rate my movies, but I guess I should start, huh? Overall, I'd give this film an A-, the minus because of the slow parts and because it didn't make me feel good and I always love a feel-good movie. But besides that, it was a gloomy masterpiece. Still, as we walked out of the theater I noted to Brett: "I feel like Hollywood has forgotten the purpose of movies". They are meant for escapism; a way to leave our own silly, dull and frightful lives behind us for a couple hours and to spend those hours instead in someone else's lives and problems and loves. I know the art is important and necessary to our culture and I can certainly appreciate it when I see it but sometimes you just want to escape. So, if you're looking for escapism, I suggest Australia, Bedtimes Stories or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. If you're looking for reality, look no further than Revolutionary Road.