Sunday, February 08, 2009

Revolutionary Road

Before I entangled myself in love affairs, I was a simple guy who loved to read books and watch movies and see the theater. It is about time I go back to being the old boring me.

So when I took my day off this last Thursday and Friday, I stayed put in my apartment, tried not think about Joey, and read former Time correspondent Aravind Adiga's Booker-winning debut novel The White Tiger. I have not finished it yet, which depresses me since I used to finish a good book in one sitting. It is so well-written I am almost tempted to write a review by pretending to have finished it.

So I am going to settle for Revolutionary Road, which I saw on DVD last night. A story about a young couple with opposite dispositions and dreams, Revo Road, based on the Richard Yates novel of the same title, tackles Director Sam Mendes's favorite theme: the American suburban family aspiring for the American Dream.

April (Kate Winslet) is an aspiring but unsuccessful actress who finds suburban life dulling and tediously monotonous. Hoping for a fresh start, she suggests to his husband Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) that they emigrate to Paris. Frank, who despises his job at a typewriter company, agrees. But when Frank succumbs to a lucrative promotion selling first-generation computers and April gets an unwanted pregnancy, their marriage fulfils its doom.

If you have seen American Beauty (well, I know, who hasn't?), it is easy to mark the similarity of theme, storyline, dialogue wit, down to the piano playing faintly in the background. As one New York Daily News review says, Revo Road is "two-thirds Mad Men, and one-third American Beauty." But even if Revo Road lives under the shadow of its smarter elder brother, it has the honest emotional drama that very few directors other than Mendes could muster. As for Kate and Leo, well, they're Kate and Leo. Only Leo's paunch is disgusting.

I almost liked the movie but I am not very fond of the fact that in the end, Frank and April remained hopelessly chained to their circumstances. I like a long winding drama, but I want well-meaning characters to be at least empowered, if not triumphant in the end. Not because I want to feel good, but because good movies are supposed to say one can effect change, despite the odds.

Otherwise, why put a gun in someone's hand when you wont let him pull the trigger?


Theo Martin said...

I'm gonna watch revolutionary road na! :)

Theo Martin said...

i'M GONNA WATCH "revo road" na! :)

Victor Gregor said...

@Theo: that's great. ireview mo rin after you watch it. ;)

guillerluna said...

angganda ng libro. i swear! ansarap ulit-ulitin ng mga linya nina kate at leo sa mga hysterical scenes. ahahaha. masokista.

Mr. Scheez said...

This movie is Sam Mendes subtle version of American Beauty. I'm underwhelmed by this film. The only thing great about this movie is Michael Shannon's (Kathy Bates' son) performance. All else is blah for me.

You should see The Reader. Ganda! =)

Victor Gregor said...

@guillerluna: wala ako ng libro, fuj. :( wala pang pera pambili. hehe.

@Mr Scheez: oo nga eh, the reader din talaga gusto ko mapanood. hindi pa yata showing dito.