Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates
Director: Sam Mendes
Running Time: 119 mins
Revolutionary Road is an American film about a married couple whose troubled relationship takes a turn for the better when they decide to move away from their unremarkable suburban life.
A film that pays testament to the importance of powerful performances and an equally resonant story, Revolutionary Road is a gripping, if not very heavy-going marital drama that certainly doesn’t pull its punches at any point. More than a generic critique on the suburban lifestyle, the film features thought-provoking and achingly difficult themes with almost universal relatability, brought to life by two staggering performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
There’s a lot that makes Revolutionary Road such an enthralling drama, but it’s those performances which are without doubt the film’s greatest strength. DiCaprio and Winslet are of course best known for their love story in Titanic, but Revolutionary Road sees the pair in the complete opposite sphere, tackling a dysfunctional marriage in 1950s suburbia.
What’s fascinating about DiCaprio and Winslet’s performances here is just how genuine and, for want of a better word, likable they both are here. That’s not to say either character is the world’s most wonderful person, but there’s a charisma and relatability to both actors’ performances that mixes with some high theatrics to make the story of their dysfunctional marriage particularly arresting viewing.
The actors’ range really plays into the dramatic ups and downs of this story, which goes far further than painting the portrait of a dysfunctional marriage by long scenes of arguments, meaning that Revolutionary Road has far more cinematic value than the much darker likes of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
Both films certainly have their own strengths, but the cinematic and more narratively captivating nature of Revolutionary Road made the film so enthralling for me to watch, only bolstered by DiCaprio and Winslet’s hugely impressive turns throughout.
What’s equally impressive about Revolutionary Road is how its story subverts typical expectations of marital and romantic dramas, placing the brightest moments where you’d normally expect to see the lowest moments.
The movie starts off with a brief glimmer of hope before dramatically taking a turn for the darker, only to gradually begin to brighten up once again. It’s a gripping structure that caught me off guard, meaning that every moment of the film feels like it could be another turning point for something unexpected.
But with patient pacing and brilliantly-crafted drama, Revolutionary Road isn’t a gratuitous series of twists and turns, but a film that mirrors the challenges of real life and the potentially devastating consequences that come with mishandling them. On the surface, the film is a marital drama, but there’s so much more to its story beneath that, which is what makes it so utterly enthralling.
Overall, I was hugely impressed by Revolutionary Road. Difficult, slow and dialogue-heavy it may seem, but it’s a film that uses all of its most challenging aspects to its advantage, with a gripping and unpredictable story, and two staggering lead performances that bring an incredibly cinematic feel to the whole affair. So, that’s why I’m giving it an 8.0.