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Revolutionary Road (2008)

Hopeless Emptiness — Written by vepro on 21.11.2012

Last night I gave into long-lasting request for watching Revolutionary Road. I had no previous knowledge about the movie, apart from being a book adaptation, which I haven't read, and two main cast members Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, but I was sceptical, for no good reason anyway.

I won't bother much about the plot here, it's a movie about young family and its problems trying to make it and build some sense into their existence. Protagonists struggle hard to rise above what they see as meaningless suburban life that lost all of its charms before it has even begun. But it's the way in all of this is portrayed that makes this movie worth watching.

The movie starts up somewhat slow and keeps that tempo until the end but it doesn't get dull or annoying in any moment. Unnecessary plot details are shown in few moments, for example how they met, how he got his job, her carrier as an actress gone bust and stuff like that. Rather, the director focuses on interactions between characters (which Winslet and DiCaprio deliver brilliantly), their inner torments, their fears and troubles which aren't allways verbal in nature. The body language, the mimic of the face, the twitch of an eye – nothing is accidentall or out of place – it serves one purpuse and one purpuse only, to show ruination of two young lifes unable to find the meaning of life, the way to fulfill their potentials to the fullest, or a way to coexist in their differences.

In the beginning they have plans, motives, wishes, they are still alive, if you wish. But life gets in a way and combination of bad luck, opportunities and bad decisions shatters their dreams and sets another stage from where everything goes down the stream, towards tragic ending. We see different ways in which the couple trys to live a little again, cheating, one night stands, getting drunk, kind words but nothing is working out. They grow appart, become distant, become sad „sad shells“ of human beings. And the ending is not particulary disturbing, whilst the whole movie is equaly hard, sad and disturbing. And it is so because you know this to be true, beacause you personally know people who are unhappy with their lives, their marriage, their kids and so on.

There is another take on this movie how I see it. Set in '50s, this movie depicts problems of what Marx calls alianation of the worker, from his job, working on a job you hate from various reasons; from his product, where you don't even know what is it what you produce and what you produce is not available to you; from your life, living in a house you don't like, surrounded with people who you don't have nothing in common apart from the same neighborhood, social interactions that give you no pleasure except the sensation of exceptance from someone you don't even care about; and from ones self, where you don't know what is it what you want, what you really want to do and, at the end, who you really are. These problems are also what bothers the modern common people, and I think this movie is not only a drama about one familys problems and tragedy, rather an depiction of situations a great deal of young people come across.

Impossibillity to achieve your personal goals, weather the reasons lie in lack of time, money or courage. If you have money it's likely you work for it so you don't have time, or it's the other way around. And if you have both, what remains is fear to take that step toward liberation, towards a better, more fulfilled life, life worth living. Because it's not easy to exit a lullaby called life, to abandon fals comfort you developed over the years, and the hope someday, somewhere you'll be able to enjoy grapes of your hard work, next to one who you really love. Instead you're stuck in „hopeless emptiness“ as the characters are well aware. And that's the only possitive thig about this movie, their awareness, their ability to pin-point the problem. But also, that's probably the saddest moment of this movie. You're fucked, you know it, but there's nothing much you can do about it. You're helpless, hopeless and it's not entirely your fault. It's just the way it is. To snap out of it seems like a privilege of lucky few.

This movie touched me in different ways, and I found it great because of it. This is a strong, disturbing story that rises some importat questions involving life, marriage, existence, meaning, love, children… and that is something you don't get very often in modern mainstream cinema. Great movie about life, in any day and age.

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