I felt a sense of inevitable déjà vu as I took in Sam Mendes’ “Revolutionary Road.” The film stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio as a young married couple attempting to rebuild their broken marriage; though it’s been over a decade now since “Titanic,” the chemistry is still there. The duo’s powerful performances build beautifully on the film’s script — adapted from a Richard Yeats novel — and is sure to receive a lot of attention, come Oscar time.
The film itself is painfully beautiful to watch. April and Frank Wheeler are a young married couple who put their bohemian, free-spirited plans on hold to move to the suburbs and raise a family. After that, the film seems to take a dark turn: Both Frank and April become involved in adultery, April with their married neighbor and Frank with a secretary.
The film’s layers are undeniable. Behind every smile and every tear, there is something much more inhibited by these characters. Both DiCaprio and Winslet deliver chilling performances. DiCaprio, in his first real grown-up role as a married father, plays the role of Frank Wheeler. His onscreen transformation into this man that has been conquered and oozes with desperation.
Winslet, one of the best and sometimes underrated actresses, really portrays the role of a woman always wanting more from her husband and from life that she will ever get, with such ease.
Other notable supporting stars include the always dependable Kathy Bates, the slimy David Harbour and the much-hyped-about Michael Shannon.
Mendes, who is best known for directing “American Beauty,” is now something of a pro at capturing the nuances of a dysfunctional suburban family.
His elegant stylistic choices — more subtle here than “Beauty”‘s rose petals — tie everything together. The film’s music and vivid colors, coupled with a fairly realistic type of cinematography, truly allow the audience to relate to this couple.