Review: Revolutionary Road (2008)

If there is one thing that I learned while watchin this movie is that life should not be rushed. That it is important to take time and see what one wants to do with his or her life before making big decisions, like getting married.

Revolutionary Road, based on the novel of the same name by Richard Yates, is about a young couple’s life in suburbia. The husband, Frank Wheeler, is a salesman at a company, however, before that he didn’t really know what he wanted to do with his life. He still did not know, but when he met his soon to be wife april, he realized that he had to do something to support his family, so he just settled for anything. April, on the other hand, knew what she wanted to do with her life. She wanted to be an actress. However, destiny had something else in store for her, so she had to settle down and be a housewife. The years pass, and their marriage become unbearable, despite the fact that they still love each other. The audience gets to see as they get a glimmer of hope for a better life, but then being torn down, and having to settle for what they have, and how unbearable that feeling becomes.
The movie’s main flaw is the script by Justin Haythe. It is good, but it gets too caught up in trying to be a carbon copy of the book. Not all of the details in the book are in the script, and thank goodness for that, but they kept the most important and compelling anecdotes. However, the script is good enough for director Sam Mendes, the behind-the-scenes team, and the actors to work their magic.
While Sam Mendes’ direction is not the best of the year, he knew where to go with the material. He creates tension in the moments that seemed insignificant. This is also thanks to Roger Deakins’ amazing cinematography. There is something about Deakins’ work that makes everything realistic, like you are a fly on the wall on the movie, but at the same time make things so beautiful that you can’t believe they can be found in this world.
Finally, there’s the actors. How great they were. Leonardo DiCaprio gives his best performance yet. His youthful looks help the audience believe that he really doesn’t know what to do with his life, but is willing to sacrifice his dreams in order to provide for his family. Kate Winslet is great, as always, and should have won her Oscar for this, and the piece of crap that was The Reader. Her last scene is so heart breaking and she perfectly sells it. That scene right there is much better than the entirety of the movie she won the Oscar for. Then there is the scene-stealer, Michael Shannon. He is only in two scenes, but he manages to out act everybody in those scenes. He plays a supposedly mentally-sick man whose only flaw is that he tells the truth as he sees it. He totally earned his Oscar nomination, and hopefully we will see more of him in main-stream features in the years to come.
Revolutionary Road is one of the best movies of 2008. It is not only an overlooked masterpiece, but it is a cautionary tale about being careful of what you do with your life. Hopefully more people will see this movie in the years to come and realize the same things I did while watching this movie.

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