This is a review of the standard definition DVD, not the Blu-ray version.
Based on the late Richard Yates novel of the same title written nearly fifty years ago, Revolutionary Road is a drama surrounding a Connecticut couple living the suburban American dream of the 1950s whose marriage turns from sweet and nice-as-pie to something altogether more bitter and distasteful. Of course it brings together the leading actors of the biggest-selling movie of all time (Titanic, in case you didn't know) and once again I think Dicaprio is the weak link of the two, because although he has gained a lot of experience over the past decade and more, and has matured as an inevitability, so too has Kate Winslet, who shows her genuine A-list rating and who has garnered widespread acclaim for a number of leading awards. In this film she plays a housewife who believes that there must be more to life outside of and beyond their comfortable, white-picket-fenced but mundane existence. She puts the idea of a trip to Paris to her sceptical, conformist and less ambitious husband.
This is very much an actors' piece and something that I was eagerly looking forward to, not least because the man at its helm is none other than Sam Mendes (Kate Winslet's real-life husband) who also directed AMERICAN BEAUTY, one of the best films I have ever seen. Perhaps because of that I expected more satire, more black humour than is actually the case - but then I have not read the novel so these were, I now know in hindsight, misplaced expectations. This film is none the worse for any absence of cynical stereotypes, however. Instead it is intense to the point of being gruelling and draining, but ultimately a rewarding, memorable and emotionally gripping experience. Dare I suggest that the plight of the Wheelers will touch a nerve in more than a few couples who have been married for several years, have had the children, remember the dreams they once had and how determined they once were not to be just like everybody else, until one day they realise that that is exactly what has happened. In this way it sometimes feels like a disturbingly voyeuristic peep into our own lives, despite the two- or even three-generation gap between then and now.
It may be fiction, but thanks to top-class acting from Winslet and even better direction from Mendes, this makes us face up to and consider some uncomfortable home truths.