Tip of the iceberg: Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are the sort of ordinary people other ordinary people envy in Revolutionary Road.
Tip of the iceberg: Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are the sort of ordinary people other ordinary people envy in Revolutionary Road.

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Directed by Sam Mendes. Written by Justin Haythe, based on the novel by Richard Yates. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, and Michael Shannon. Rated R.

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Perhaps owing to his stage background, Mendes is the sort of movie director who tends to come up with a single, all-encompassing stylistic concept and then rarely deviates from it. That seemed like a shortcoming in his previous films, but in Revolutionary Road it translates into a stately, semi-detached, observational approach that makes it seem as if Frank and April Wheeler's Good Housekeeping home were itself directing the movie. Which is only fitting for a film that, by the end, turns into a far more unsettling haunted-house story than The Amityville Horror. An ex-critic friend complained that this gave him the feeling of watching two John Cassavetes characters trapped in a Yasujiro Ozu film, but this, it seems to me, is precisely the point. Even after Frank and April's climactic knockdown, drag-out argument, chez Wheeler is markedly undisturbed — sitting there, biding its time, waiting to devour its next victims and their futile ambitions.

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