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:: Revolutionary Road

It is twelve years since Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet graced our screens as star-crossed lovers, Jack and Rose in ‘Titanic’. Since then they have taken very different career paths. DiCaprio has become one of the world’s best character actors, being moulded by Scorsese in films such as ‘The Aviator’ and ‘The Departed’, while Winslet has chosen to take the art-film route with films like ‘Little Children’ and ‘The Reader’. Now they have been paired up again as husband and wife as director, Sam Mendes becomes the first filmmaker with enough courage to bring Richard Yates’s classic novel to the big screen.

Screenwriter, Justin Haythe makes sure the story doesn’t divert from Yates’s original work. Frank (Leo DiCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) seem like the perfect couple to the outside world as they bring their family up in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s. They are adored by their friends Shep (David Harbour) and Milly Wheeler (Kathryn Hahn) while town busybody, Mrs Givings (Kathy Bates) sees them as the right people to help her mentally ill son, John (Michael Shannon). It is John that first notices the cracks in Frank and April’s marriage. The cracks become wider, the fights more intense and soon Frank has an affair with his secretary, Maureen (Zoe Kazan). In a bid to save their marriage they decide to move to Paris, but this decision is threatened when April discovers she is pregnant and Frank is offered a promotion at work. How will this couple who are so desperate to be different cope with these ‘normal everyday’ things.

Sam Mendes was the perfect director for this project. His unique style allows this somewhat depressing film to have some very beautiful moments (and shots) that will be remembered for a long time to come. Some the scenes that revolve around the dramatic climax are so beautiful that even the hardened cinema goer will find some tears starting to fall.

‘Revolutionary Road’ is also blessed with a tremendous all-star cast that are at their absolute best in these challenging roles. DiCaprio is at his usual best, he absolutely shines during the argument scenes; the passion on his face is there for all to see. And you can’t help but wonder whether this will be the role that will finally see him breakthrough and win that ‘Best Actor’ Oscar. Winslet matches DiCaprio in all the scenes and once again she handles a difficult character with ease. There is an onscreen chemistry between DiCaprio and Winslet (thanks to their close friendship off-screen) and together they generate a feeling that is normally lost in modern cinema. DiCaprio and Winslet are also well backed up by Kathy Bates who manages to bring just a hint of comedy to her role.

Once again Mendes manages to turn a depressing suburban drama into a beautifully filmed masterpiece. Great directing, great script and brilliant acting…what else can you ask for in a film?