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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Buy the DVD for someone you hate., 5 February 2009

Wow. What a depressing, worthless film. Marc and I went to see this last night - I only hope that he can forgive me for suggesting it. What people say is partly true: Kate Winslet's performance allows her to show her range as the trapped, middle class suburban housewife - she is convincing and at times bold. Michael Shannon is Oscar nominated for his role as a mentally ill neighbour who is the only one willing to speak what everybody else is thinking - his key scene is hilarious and horrific.

The cinematography and period detail are beautiful and James Newton's score is affecting - particularly in a scene where Winslet grasps the last moments of light against the back garden tree, while, after their biggest bust up yet, Leo DiCaprio wanders around in the darkness of the house on Revolutionary Road - the house that typified everything 'perfect' about their life.

As just about every critic ever has noted, the concept is not original; David Lynch blew it apart in 'Blue Velvet' and 'Twin Peaks' and surely after 3 seasons of Desperate Housewives, it's no longer an alien concept. As Kermode notes Todd Haynes' 'Far From Heaven' takes this initial premise in a far more interesting and brave direction, a beautiful film that I would watch 20 times before I ever set eyes on Revolutionary Road again. Bearing in mind that RR comes from Sam Mendes, who delved with insight and originally into this same white-picket lie with American Beauty ten years ago, it's even more disappointing to watch this film that adds nothing to our understanding.

I haven't even got to what's bad about it yet; the sheer hopelessness of the script, the clichéd dialogue, its torturous length, the bizarre sidelining of the kids or the moral corruption unbalanced without any sense of regret, repentance or redemption. Most of all, we both came out of the cinema with the same key observation: none of the characters were likable. Nothing about them was endearing, upright, selfless, loving, hopeful or genuine. Summed up, RR was over 2 hours of hateful, self-deceived people wrapped up in their purposeless, spiralling lives. Maybe that was the point?

On a personal note, it confirmed to me that I really do dislike DiCaprio as an actor - only his performance in The Departed approached bearable. The only thing revolutionary about this film is what a tragic waste of time and talent it is, bringing absolutely nothing of worth into the world. I'd rather lose a limb than watch this again. Not only the most bitter, unfathomable film I've seen in the past 12 months but probably ever. Buy the DVD for someone you really hate.

5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Flawed and lacking pace, but definitely worth a watch, 1 September 2006

I'm fed up of reading comments from people that start 'i left this movie half way through.' If that's true, then you didn't watch the movie properly and your opinion is pretty much useless.

Going to see this film as a huge fan of the original, I found it in turn original, disappointing, frustrating, clever and sweetly respectful of its source material. Quite a mixed collection of feelings.

There were enough deviations from the original to make it a valid film in its own right, so I'll completely avoid the ultimately pointless 'why do Hollywood keep doing remakes' argument. There is nothing new under the sun. However, what was a little disappointing:

1) as a film that could make the most of unsettling its audience by focusing on bizarre and unusual pagan rituals and beliefs, it relied too much on bog-standard 'Cage is trapped underwater', 'Cage is falling through loose flooring' action/jump scenes. 2) all elements of the belief/faith and the erotic, and therefore the crucial links between sex, temptation, testing and purity are overshadowed by a fairly shallow feminist pretence. Sex and sexiness are replaced by the red herring of sexual politics. Duff move, especially with such beautiful leading ladies. 3) The wonderful folk soundtrack of the original (which added to its creepy earthiness and ancient tradition) has been replaced by a fairly lacklustre orchestral score, with oddly pointless whispering. While I didn't expect the same songs, here was potential for something far more daring. 4) Nobody, man or woman, was ever going to do a better job of the Lord Summerisle/Lady Summersisle role than Christopher Lee.

Things that were good about it? Well, it may be a remake, but it's not a plot that's been done often, so there's still a sense of surprise, fear and originality to it. I would certainly class it as a thriller rather than a horror, so i guess the lack of tension is slightly disappointing. However, there's loads of recreated shots and subtle in-jokes that will tickle fans of the original. Even more satisfying in some ways are the references to Nic Roeg's 'Don't Look Now' (the original Wicker Man played as the B-Movie to 'DLN' in the UK.) So, cue blind old ladies(with implied psychic powers), red coats, lost little girls running in the shadows etc.

Ultimately, enough has been changed to make this film worth watching in its own right. The script is patchy, but Cage is not half as bad as some say - in fact at points, he is excellent). It honours the original's startling climax (although dumbs it down rather by setting up for a sequel) and while it won't ever be regarded as a classic, it will hopefully enable a new generation to discover the horror and comedy and beauty of the true original.