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TRCH The Da Vinci Code

Revolutionary Road

2 February 09 words: Harry Wilding
They are seen by friends and neighbours as quirky and different, but it still comes as a surprise when they just get up and leave for Paris

Revolutionary Road - a Titanic reuinion for DiCaprio and Winslet
Revolutionary Road - a Titanic reuinion for DiCaprio and Winslet

Revolutionary Road is, first of all, absolutely beautifully shot. Of course, I expected nothing less from Director Sam Mendes, whose previous films (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead) were also. He has been criticised for not having the script to back the direction, particularly for the latter two, but I personally disagree, even more so with his latest.

The film is set in 1950s Connecticut, within the stereotypical American suburbs: big white house, perfect lawns, picket fences, and so on. Flashback scenes show Frank (DiCaprio) charming April (Winslet) with promises of going back to Paris the first chance he gets, after spending a stint there when serving in the army.

Cut to 1955, a few years (and two kids) on, they have settled into the normal working man and housewife cliché. They are seen by friends and neighbours as slightly quirky and different, but it still comes as a surprise to them when they decide to just get up and leave for Paris. Everyone’s shock that they are doing such an out of the ordinary thing is made greater by the fact that April will be the breadwinner in France, giving Frank ‘time’ to discover what he wants to do with his life.

At this point, everything is going far too well, so enter disequilibrium...without going into it too much, it involves money. Of course, as the ‘insane’ John Givings tells them (played by Michael Shannon in a very deserving Oscar nominated role), money is a good reason, but never the reason. He is the only character who understands their state of mind throughout, but due to being ‘out of society’ his views are seen as ridiculous.

The production design is spot on, as is everyone’s acting. Most of the decisions Frank and April make are stupid, rash and selfish, but with every single one, their point of view can be seen and understood. Their frustration spills from the screen, making the audience feel uncomfortable which is a testament to the direction and acting, but doesn’t make this a film for the faint hearted or, to be honest, anyone who isn’t a true fan of film (despite it being the Friday night movie of choice on my visit for many a teenager, who come to the cinema to hold conversations with each other and on the phone).

Overall a quality, thought-provoking film which will make you think about your own life and the conformity that, although not quite the same as in 1955, is still very much the case . People are still expected to settle down with the house, the car, marriage and the jobs while producing 2.4 children and not causing too much fuss. Basically what both I and the film are trying to convey is Stick It To The Man.

Revolutionary Road website

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