Revolutionary Road (2008)

“Revolutionary Road” (2008)



filling with emptiness

Sam Mendes can do little wrong in my book. He envisions things cinematically, and he is always able to propose a mood, and transcribing it into film. So his films are always about a mood, and what he tries to do is something i value a lot: basically, the film, as a medium, should reflect the film, as a content. The film passes its characters urges, expectations, disillusions, onto us.

That’s what we have here: emptiness. The film is about shallow characters, ridiculous hypocritical lives, unhappy people, afraid of facing their unhappiness (“no one ever forgets the truth, you only learn to lie better”). The story is meaningless for the facts in themselves (maybe the novel had a social impact in its days), what makes it worthy is the mood it suggests, that the film completes.

So the set up is quite simple. Mediocrity, middle class useless life-styles. Assumed and accepted lack of ambition. Paris as the synonym for self-superation (“it didn’t have to be Paris”). Kate’s character learns about her own frustrations, and that triggers the whole drama. Now, watch how this simplicity is transcribed to visual terms: -very few sets; the house, the woods, the working place, and a few more with little screen time. -the stupidity and shallowness underlined in every dialog, except for the lines of Winslet’s character and Shannon’s. -the simplicity in the cinematography choices. And the outcome of that, so effective. Watch the film, and check what you have of it in you, just a few hours after… nothing, just a sense of uneasiness, restlessness, frustration for something is missing in the film. Just like Kate’s character was feeling. Get it? Kate is one of the finest actresses these days, the role here was a struggle between personality and submission, will to transcend and routine. She understood it so well.

Two interesting things:

Kate and Sam: actress/director couple. Both are interesting as artists. There is love. We can check it, frame by frame. Ted Goranson always remarks on husbands directing their wives, and i get it. It’s a sort of extra motivation. Beyond the artistic urges and intentions that triggered the need in the director to create this film, we have a layer of extra-passion for he wants to bound his art to his love. It’s a beautiful concept, truly.

We don’t have Conrad Hall here. I missed that. OK, the intention was to make a highly simplified film, so strong iconic images were not so much the kind of game Mendes wanted to play here. But i miss the poetry of light, the poetry of understanding bodies, and body placement, and faces that Hall had. We have much to appreciate from what he left, but He and Mendes were so perfectly connected in the two projects where they worked together, that i get the sensation that some pages were not written as they should. Pity. Roger Deakins made a competent work here, me referencing C.Hall is not a depreciation of this film’s cinematography.

My opinion: 4/5

This comment on IMDb


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