Here at the Culture Czar, we’ve had our eye on Revolutionary Road for some time. Academy Award winner Sam Mendes’ adaptation of the depressingly awesome Richard Yates novel, which reunites doomed Titanic lovers Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, seems like it should be a guaranteed home run: high-pedigree Oscar bait that will also be incredibly watchable and wildly sad. We. Can’t. Wait.
However, there was some cause for concern over what Mr. Mendes would do with this material. Granted, he’s an adept technical director. His films, without exception, are beautiful to look at, thanks in large part to his brilliant cinematographers like the late Conrad L. Hall and Roger Deakins. But they are always invariably missing … something. And in his previous films, style tends to win over substance.
The just released trailer for Revolutionary Road has us thinking that Mr. Mendes might finally be ready to rectify that complaint. While Revolutionary Road looks like an extended episode of Mad Men (The clothes! The booze! The ennui!) if Mr. Mendes and his screenwriter Justin Haythe can intone even a little bit of the depth that the Emmy Award winning show does on a weekly basis, everything should be fine and dandy.
Mr. DiCaprio, with his face bloated and fuller than usual, appears to be as strong as ever. We’re continually surprised that one of the biggest stars in the world is also one of its most under-rated performers. But, in this trailer at least, it’s Ms. Winslet that steals the show. Mr. Mendes’ real-life better half screams and yells and intones each longing line with a real gravitas. The results look like a combination of her parts in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Little Children, and should easily land her a sixth Academy Award nomination.
Revolutionary Road hits theaters on December 26th.