WHAT IT IS: The Wheelers are the heads of a nuclear family in 1950s suburban America. Hidden behind a facade of perfection, the young couple disintegrates when it attempts to escape society’s expectations.
HOW IT IS: Based on a popular Richard Yates novel, Mendes’s new film shares a common thread with American Beauty, his first film; it examines the breakdown of the American family. But, where this previous film was blessed with an Alan Ball script and dared to be different, Revolutionary Road is banal; a typical award movie. DiCaprio and Winslet are well cast as the young couple on opposite journeys and Michael Shannon shines as their neighbour’s crazy son. As it never endeavours to break any mould, Revolutionary Road will be quickly forgotten, like other awards fare before it (think In the Bedroom; now forget it again), as evident by its absence in the year’s Oscar nominations.