Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sam Mendes: Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road is, off the bat, two things: a novel written by Richard Yates (1961) and a movie directed by Sam Mendes (2008). 

Mendes' film adaptation of the novel presents a bleak microcosm of isolation, alienation and peer pressure set mostly in the mid-1950s, in New York City and suburban Connecticut, five years prior to the beginning, in chronological setting, of the AMC series Mad Men. Think Sloan Wilson's The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1955), John Updike's Rabbit, Run (1960), Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963), and anticipating Sue Kaufman's Diary of a Mad Housewife (1967). 

This brightly lit (almost washed out in its brightness) film is both grim and meticulously done in Sam Mendes style -- if you've seen American Beauty, Jarhead, or the latest James Bond film, they all bear his stamp. 
Here, a marriage is pressure-cooked. Kids, nice house and stability are of little consequence in the grand scheme of things. Follow your dreams or die a little inside, day after day. Think big, not small -- and God go with you. Once you've got food, shelter and clothing, you are free to choose your arc -- don't let yourself feel trapped, isolated and hopeless. Got it? In 2014, there should be more room to maneuver than there was in 1955. Do you think there is?   

Today's Rune: Harvest.  

2 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

One wonders if the human condition will ever change. Probably not.

Cranky Bird said...

Really well done, but just couldn't finish this excruciating movie.