Rewatched Jun 16, 2012
Ethan D’s review:
This was my second viewing of Revolutionary Road and it was just as good the second time. The thing that really makes this movie click is the writing, the cinematography, and most of all: the acting.
The writing is what allows this film to be spectacular. It creates real characters through horrifyingly real arguments and conversations that illustrate the downfall of a marriage. The entire story is engrossing because the dialogue and the characters are so believable and this can be partly attributed to the perfect writing.
I also mentioned how one of the key things that this film has going for it is its cinematography and its camerawork. Every shot in this film is done extremely well and really shows Sam Mendes' talent as a director. He can tell a story, he can tell it well, and he can make it look fantastic. The one shot I'd focus on as the very best of the film are the several surrounding the last scene with Winslet. She's standing in front of the window and the camera zooms in on her face and you see the horror of everything that had just happened without actually seeing it. Then when it cuts and zooms out to show her standing in front of the window from behind. That is just one of the most chilling images I've ever seen in film. Remarkable.
And then there's the acting:
This is Winslet at her very finest. Every little nuance about her performance from her delivery of dialogue to the expressions of her face to the look in her eyes. Every last bit is 100% believable. I would specifically want to mention her performance specifically in the argument scenes. They are made just terrifying and real through the performances and she knocks it out of the park. Every shouted word, every whispered word, every brutally honest insult. It is all delivered without flaw. It is a perfect performance that deserved the Oscar far more than her performance in The Reader.
Then there's Michael Fucking Shannon. That's right. "Fucking" is his middle name. This man is a behemoth of an actor and this is one of, if not the best of his performances. He's only really in two scenes of the film but he steals the show and delivers the most searing lines of all. He is a brutally honest man with nothing stopping him from saying whatever he want. Any type of social rules were shocked out of his mind long ago. Shannon plays this role fiercely and fully dives into the insanity of his character. A brilliant performance.
This was the first performance of Dicaprio's where I though "Shit, this guy can really act with the best of them." I've gotten that feeling a lot recently with the likes of The Aviator and with a re-watch of The Departed, but for my money this is his best performance. Anger and depression fit Dicaprio like a glove made out of sunshine (a very well-fitting glove). He takes every little uncertainty of his character, every little fear, and puts them on display. Subtlety is one of the things that he's best at as an actor. He can show raw emotion without the need for dialogue. While he does that hear he also truly shines when his character is exploding. All of the angry gestures and shouted words come together to form an excellent and sometimes very frightening performance. Truly wonderful.