One of the biggest box office cash-ins in Hollywood today is also one of the boldest talents. The career of Leonardo DiCaprio has had many growing pains, but now that he’s grown up and knows exactly what he wants out of his career, he appears unstoppable. His gift is to take us inside the often harrowing mind of the male psyche by manipulating and subverting the things that make people sympathize with it. He often yearns for connection in his films, whether it be from an unrequited love (Inception, Shutter Island) or just a human to be normal around (The Departed), he takes us to these places with ferocious skill and unbreakable humanity. Rarely does he crack a smile these days, but that makes them all the more meaningful when he does. If there is any hope that the art house can continue to have a big budget, it’s because stars like him appreciate the art they work in, and not just the huge salary it gives them.
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Written by: Justin Haythe (screenplay), Richard Yates (novel)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Michael Shannon, and Kathy Bates
The way cinema portrays it, I’m led to believe absolutely no marriages of the 1950’s ended well. With all of these shattered dreams and repressed rage foaming to the surface, it’s difficult to see how these people have time for mowing the lawn or raising the kids.
In fact, the children hardly make an appearance in Sam Mendes’ adaptation of Revolutionary Road, originally a cult novel written by Richard Yates. They are alluded to, yes, but their most prominent function is to make Leonardo DiCaprio’s Frank Wheeler feel guilty about cheating on his wife April (Kate Winslet) on his birthday. There he is walking into his own house, and here comes a birthday cake, a happy wife, and two smiling kids right after he got done staring ominously at the steering wheel of his car and feeling dreadful.
It’s this dreary mood of hidden secrets and suburban angst that drives much of Revolutionary Road. And though the children rarely appear, the adults do enough childish dreaming of their own. April and Frank decide to move to Paris, an aspiration they remembered and want to achieve.