Thursday 5 February 2009

Review: Revolutionary Road

Year: 2008
Director: Sam Mendes
Screenplay: Justin Haythe
Starring: Leonardo Di Caprio, Kate Winslet, Micheal Shannon, Kathy Bates, Dylan Baker

I was given the chance to watch Rev Road a while ago but was not allowed to mention anything about it until it was released for many reasons. Fair enough, makes sense to those involved so I waited. Now the films been released, the awards have been announced and Rev Road got very little in the way of nominations, considering it's subject matter, it's stars, the director, the time it's was released...etc. I'm not surprised really because while Rev Road is well made, it's extremly hollow.

The problem I had with the film is that Mendes has been down the road of Suburian nightmare before and it was so much more entertaining 8 years ago. The film starts off swiftly as the two leads fall in love with each other and express (impose) their dreams on one another but after 10 minutes an arguement starts and it doesn't seem to end until the end of the movie. Most of the film is a slanging match between Di Caprio and Winslet.

It's hard not to think that this is what would happen if Jack and Rose got married at the end of Titanic, but amusing made up stories aside watching the two go at each for two hours isn't as great a movie I had hoped. The reason? It's all so basic and uninteresting, mostly because it's all so over the top. Nothing is understated, no tension rippling under the surface, it's all yelled out obviously to show the audience "HEY LOOK AT US WE'RE ACTING!" Everything is far too staged for it's own good. Richard Yates' novel has been heavily praised but watching the film first has given me no desire to ring it up. No doubt being a novel Yates would have some restraint, it's not seen here.

As the leads yell at each other constantly for almost two hours, there was absolutly no entry point for me as a viewer. Thoughout the film I was kept at a distance as these selfish, ignorant people shouted in each others faces. Mendes makes sure that we share no empathy with these characters plight in any shape or form, they're shallow at the beginning, manipulative in the middle and destructive at the end. I'm sure I've enjoyed unlikeable people in films like this before but there's no just no drawing point for me.

Mendes once again crafts a great looking film with the usual Thomas Newman score but the film is show, but the narrative doesn't interest, unlike you love two respectable actors SHOWING you how well they can "emote".

The revelation in the movie (so to speak) stems from the voice of truth within the film. Micheal Shannon plays John Givings, an ex-mathematician whose spent time in a mental institution and receieved electroshock treatment. Givings can see the through the couples charade. It's played superbly by Shannon, playing the right side of distrubed, it's a funny performance as well an upsetting but it's all over too soon as the indulgence sets in again.

And thats what I feel is the major problem with Revolutionary Road, like Cold Mountain (2003), it's designed to be a shallow award pleaser. Di Caprio, Winslet and Mendes have produced stronger work with wider range and deeper emotions and it's awful to them playing up to the golden statue in a film that's more smug than an Ocean's 11 sequel. Rev Road reminds me of so much of what Stephen King said about Kubrick's The Shining; A big beautiful car with no engine inside. I was also reminded of Mendes' first film (a personal fave) American Beauty and it's tagline because once I "looked closer" I saw a extremly superfical film

Duff and Cera: A Satanic Couple.

So reading the Internets and catch a headline about Hilary Duff mouthing off to Oscar winner Faye Dunaway. Reason? Dunaway rues the day that Hollywood can't a real actress for the remake of Bonnie and Clyde. A film which Duff is rumored to be starring in. Duff's response: "I think that my fans that are going to go see the movie don't even know who she is," and "I think it was a little unnecessary, but I might be mad if I looked like that now, too."

My first reaction.....They're making a remake of Bonnie and Clyde? What the motherhell? Which fucker said yes to this? I delved deeper into the production and couldn't believe what what i saw.

Now Bonnie and Clyde was one of the biggest shake ups for Hollywood. Do the google thing and you'll see. Selected to preservation in the National Film Registry, noted for being one of the premier films to change the attitudes of sex and violence to American cinema, loved by the critics and the geeks the world over. Now it's a star vehicle for Lizzie "fucking" McGuire? While the 1967 wasn't the first tale of the Depression era duo (or the last with a T.V remake starring that guy who played Bobby in Twin Peaks in 1992), but there's a nasty cynical feeling I get about this MTV-esque remake with Mickey Mouse club cast (seriously check out the guy they got with Clyde Barrow). Are we really gonna see that bird from "cheaper and the dozen" get killed in a hail of bullets? "Sounds Great."

As for the "war of words" Just because your starring in a few dramas for your next projects don't start bitching at Award Winning Good actresses because your young. As for Faye? She should know better. I mean come on! You've done some excellent work now so just watch the sun set while Hollywood eats itself.

My Other Beef is Micheal Cera being a cock knocker and starring in things like Extreme Movie and not signing up for the Arrested Development movie. I was going to say more but fuck it. Just Fucking do it. It made you famous and gave you options. Don't be a dick. Superbad doesn't always strike twice.