5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
As pretty as a cut crystal glass, but as empty too...,
This review is from: Revolutionary Road [DVD]  (DVD)
Missing this at the cinema I was very ready to see it on DVD. The disappointment comes from the old adage: if it 'aint on the page, it 'aint on the stage.
The film looked great, I couldn't fault the acting by all players(particularly DiCaprio.) Where we ran aground was story. Winslet apparently wanted to play the part badly, and it is a full-tilt performance from her; the downfall comes in that there's nothing to peg it to. More time was spent on DiCaprio's character, and we ended up knowing far more about him than Winslet playing his wife. Given the twist of things at the end, I found this very confusing as a viewer.
It was as though they were all so in awe of the subject matter that no-one stopped to ask if it all tied together. Who actually was April, as a person? It's not made clear - was that intended? I found it funny that DiCaprio's character got all the extra fleshing-out story, but Winslet's didn't. With the path the story takes, it only leaves us with sympathy rather than what we should have had: empathy.
Was April a woman only defined by her husband and his place in the world? Maybe that was the idea, but presented as it is in the film, the distance from her character makes it hard, very hard, to relate.
I haven't read Richard Yates' original book, and perhaps this is a spot-on adaptation, but if so, I wonder why they wanted to make it in the first place? It's not as though the themes here are unique - it has been done before - and much better - in films like Ordinary People or The Big Chill.
Digressing finally: I thought the soundtrack was very weak. Newman (the composer) did the beautiful music for Mendes' Road to Perdition, and here he seems to be just lazily riffing on that. He, like everyone, apparently infected with 'gravitosis'.
The real shame is, the background of the story, the premise, could really deliver a great tale. but there was no tale here - it's all about the angst. Thanks, but we can get enough of that in real life. In a film, it can't stand on it's own and be expected to hold everything together.
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Initial post: 23 Oct 2014 19:12:10 BDT
I think you are missing something. This isn't about the role of women, or about 'angst' so much as about the forces that keep people from fulfilment in modern society. Back then the forces were slightly different, but essentially the same as today, but for me the fascinating character, the only one brave enough to speak truth, is the lad from the asylum. The message is, "we are all caught up in this society that we have made, and it distorts what we are. If we want to escape we had better be very brave and truthful, even to the point of risking being carried off by men in white coats." I loved the film, and then the book, for the story. Stories like this bring the comfort of knowing that there are other human beings on the planet that see things as you do. Unfortunately, you perhaps have to have been there and worked it out for yourself before you can really be moved by the story, which is a pity when so many people are happy to accept the doctor's explanation that they have 'chemical imbalance in the brain' and take the pills (or turn to drug addiction).
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