A Movie Log

A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What I'm Watching


Revolutionary Road

Sometimes it's hard to put your finger on exactly why a film doesn't work for you. Here's a well-acted, skillfully designed movie that doesn't make the impact it should, given all the talent on display. It seems disjointed, as if pieces of the plot and keys to the characters are missing. There's no faulting the performances. DiCaprio's boyishness is just right for Frank, who hasn't yet figured out what it is to be a man. And Winslet delivers April's comparative maturity with her accustomed brilliance. To its credit, the film doesn't devolve into a look-how-far-we've-come commentary on the fifties -- it doesn't put the era down, the way "Mad Men" sometimes condescends to the era in which it's set. Frank and April are acutely aware of the social and emotional limitations of the age in which they're living, but they haven't figured out how to rise above them. I'm currently reading the novel, which has all the depth and all the connective tissue that the film lacks, but more on that later. And all that said, one should be grateful for a movie that exhibits such raw power as this scene, which earned Michael Shannon an Oscar nomination:

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