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Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Michael Shannon, Ryan Simpkins

Director: Sam Mendes

Screenplay: Justin Haythe, Richard Yates

Cinematography: Roger Deakins

Original Score: Thomas Newman

Running Time: 119 Mins.

Suburban angst, it seems to be Revolutionary Road director Sam Mendes speciality, which means that in returning to the topic that made Mendes the director he is acclaimed for being (with American Beauty) we have another truly special film to behold. After the lukewarm critical and commercial reception to Road to Perdition and Jarhead Mendes is back on safer ground with the double whammy of Kate and Leo, but of one thing you can be sure, this is no Titanic 2! 

Based on the award winning novel (aren’t most films at thsi time of year!) by Richard Yates we follow the brief meeting of Frank and April Wheeler, which then becomes, years down the line, a full blown marriage with 2.4 children, okay only 2 but you get the picture. Thing is, both husband and wife have grown tired in their holed up lives, Frank seeks sexual satisfaction with an office affair and Kate seeks solace in a neighbours arms, whilst playing at the doting house-wife. In order to break the monotony of their lives April suggests they move to Paris, at first Frank is over the moon, there he can, as April tells him, discover what who is and what carreer he wants instead of being stuck in an office.

As ever with these kind of plans, things begin to go wrong, events occur and many a domestic takes place. In reducing the plot down to words it is very hard to get across quite how gipping Revolutionary Road is, it hardly sounds like the most tension filled experience but with masters of their craft working this well you cannot fail to be swept along in the young couples plight (s).

As ever DiCaprio is excellent, showing yet another side to his craft, the conflict he feels in making choices is shown with such passion, that he has been denied an Oscar nod is a mystery. Almost matching him, with seemingly less screen time, is Winslet, whilst not her biggest fan the journey that she takes into eventual tragic circumstance is an emotional ride so heavy you almost feel like you are going through the same ordeal as her.

But, and this is a big but, the film is subtly lifted from being totally downbeat with blackly comic asides that don’t take from the drama in any way but simply serve to punctuate the ridiculousness of life and relationships and the choices we make, and this is where Oscar nominee Michael Shannon comes in. He is fully deserving of such an accolade and in only 2 scenes he becomes the backbone of the films message, saying what no-one else dare, being 100% open when all the supposedly ‘sane’ people around him dare not! If you needed but one reason alone to see Revolutionary Road it would be him.

Although when it boils down to it, this is Mendes film through and through, the man can frame the simplest shot and make it look unique, shot through an almost dream-like haze, it shows a story that is anything but dream like. Sucked into every shot and despite the liklihood that you won’t go away from Revolutionary Road with a big grin on your face, you will go away wanting to see it again. 

VERDICT

In Revolutionary Road suburban angst never looked so beautiful as Sam Mendes well and truly returns to form with the dream team of Kate and Leo, but it’s Michael Shannon who steals the show in only minutes of screen time. That’s not to knock the rest of a film, but simply testament as to how good it is as a whole. A word of warning though, this is the antithesis of an date movie!

grade-b

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