Monthly Archives: December 2008
A beautifully shot movie with no redeeming social or artistic value
Walking out of the film Revolutionary Road, my mind was numb from the deadening effect of this miserable film. It was like Requiem for a Dream but without the drugs. It’s as if the filmmakers just got out of a bad relationship and figured out for the first time that material life is hard. Jesus, the Buddha, and countless Vedic texts have already told us that life is hard. Or perhaps they heard about the artistic genre known as a tragedy, read some cliff notes of the Greek plays or read about Ibsen and Chekhov on Wikipedia, and decided that a tragedy is a movie about bad things happening to sad people. Or maybe they just found out that the illusion of a nuclear family in the 1950’s collapsed under the pressures of relentless, sexism, racism, and classism, but hadn’t had time to come up with something meaningful to say about it.
Hmmm, actually I can’t really come up with an excuse for these filmmakers. Except that they have written and produced a move with great, art direction, cinematography, music and with absolutely nothing to say. Unless their goal was like the upbraiding owner of a new puppy who must rub our collective noses in the crap pile that is life. This movie says nothing new, nothing important, and deserves no accolades. The one bright spot was the acting of the so called crazy realtor’s son (Michael Shannon) who played the part of the chorus in a greek melodrama telling us the obvious moral of the story. He played his part very well, as did his mother (Kathy Bates) the realtor. Kate Winslet was a seeming paragon of pathos, and Mr. Dicaprio’s performance ranged from wooden to apoplectic, not his finest hour.
Unless you are a masochist for mediocre melodrama, do not waste your precious time on this travesty of a film. It is a film that wanted to be about emptiness and hopelessness and instead became an empty and hopeless film. If you want to catch up with a meaningful drama, stay in and rent, The Grapes of Wrath, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, or Wuthering Heights… these are examples of what a tragedy, or a melodrama, is supposed to be.
Recommendation: avoid like an unanaesthetized root canal