Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Revolutionary Road is really amazing

I saw Revolutionary Road this weekend and the more I think about it, it's the best movie I have seen in all of the 2000's. The second best, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The common thread - Kate Winslet.

But this isn't about Kate Winslet, though she is the best working actor alive, it's about the emotional impact of Revolutionary Road. The movie has been described as a downer and it's true, but it also oversimplifies the movie to a great degree. Revolutionary Road is a movie about unhappiness, it's about lowering some of your expectations while not meeting others. It's about fear, It's about accepting adulthood or not accepting it - it's about coming to grips with being human and just being human - not being spectacular. That's heavy stuff for sure, but the film itself is eye opening.

As someone who hasn't really seen many "films" lately, it feels good to actually notice themes in something, I can tell you that.

Revolutionary Road was directed by Sam Mendes and a lot of people will draw comparisons between Mendes' first film, American Beauty and this one (seeing as how they both take place in suburbia and all). These people are stupid as they couldn't be more different. First, American Beauty sucks and Revolutionary Road doesn't. Second, American Beauty is so phony and 'wink-wink' cute and so loaded with stereotypes that it feels like a cartoon, while Revolutionary Road is so real and fraught and completely devoid of self consciousness. Finally, unlike American Beauty, Revolutionary Road is not preachy in the slightest. Revolutionary Road is not a message movie. It does not judge its characters the way American Beauty did.

Revolutionary Road is not simply a great movie, it's an important one. The script is flawless, which is what really sets it apart from American Beauty - the worst screenplay ever to win an Oscar. It eschews cliche at every turn and even if you know what's going to happen, you are surprised by how it happens. The performances across the board are the best of the year in every category. There's nothing out of place here.

Revolutionary Road is certainly a difficult movie, but it's worth it. Know going in the it's a tough road to hoe, but that shouldn't stop you from seeing what is, in my opinion, the first truly great movie of this decade.


Ann Marie said...

I bet Mall Cop will be even better.

DeLisa Online said...

I'm interested to hear this as the trailer makes it look like an exceedingly cliched treatment of themes more subtly addressed - not in Mendes American Beauty, but - in Winslet's Little Children which was easily the best film of that year. Thanks for your articulate review! I'm less resistant to seeing it now and glad for that as it may FINALLY well win Winslet her long overdue Oscar....