The Sunbaked King

Hopeless Emptiness

A COMMENTARY ON REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
Leonardo diCaprio, Kate Winslet

On the surface, everything looks composed and organized. A modest house with room for the kids, a newly-mowed lawn, a decent car. mparevolutionaryroadposterSuburbia. This is the stuff mainland America is made of. This is the stuff people want for themselves. After all, who doesn’t want stability in their lives? Who wouldn’t want to wake up each morning knowing that there are going to be scrambled eggs and orange juice on the table? Who wouldn’t want to go to work knowing that there’s a job out there waiting for him, and perhaps a modest paycheck to feed himself, the wife and kids?

People who want more from life, that’s who. People who were born to be over and beyond what society dictates them to be. People who truly believe they exist to create a difference in the world. For these people, the perfectly composed suburban scenario is nothing but a trap. It stifles. It reeks of pretense.

Frank Wheeler (Leonardo diCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) have moved into their new home in Revolutionary Road, and there they learn that that their lives are going to be anything but revolutionary. With a job Frank hates, and a housewife role April despises, they set out to be better than who they are by moving to Paris. Acknowledging that they have lived what Frank calls a “hopeless existence” is only half of the equation, however; getting out of it is another matter entirely.

Hmmm, hopeless emptiness. John Givings (Michael Shannon), a mathematician plagued by a case of insanity, said it best: people hint at the emptiness, but never really see the hopelessness. This is perhaps the reason why people moan at the redundancy, but never recognize the futility of living the redundancy. So they do things again and again, believing that something is out for them, when in fact everything stays the same. By the time they realize that something’s amiss, their entire life has passed them by, and they end up bitter and sad and mad at the world. What’s worse, they end up bitter and sad and mad at themselves. For failing to see. For failing to act.

A road can lead two ways, and it’s perfectly fine to use both of them. The only mistake is to stay behind without using at all.

[Revolutionary Road is a comeback for the famous Titanic tandem of diCaprio and Winslet. diCaprio’s and Winslet’s performances are spot-on and quite effective. They’ve gone a long way since Titanic, which I didn’t even watch on the big screen (can ya believe it?). The music is quite minimal, and it works. In fact, the scenes are quite minimilastic; you get the idea that while suburban life may be this clean, a tiny speck of dust (or blood) is all it takes to destroy the entire picture.]

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Filed under: Cinema, Domesticated, Mindlifting, The Couch Potato

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