Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Early Oscar Buzz?

I was reading the weekly Movieline report at work on a Monday morning a week or two ago, perusing the long list, toward the end of the report, of movies coming out later this year - and the name of one movie positively leapt off the page at me:

Revolutionary Road

The sad thing is that not many people are going to be excited about this one - yet. It has a late December 2008 release date and, if the film version is even one-thousandth as good as the novel, there should be considerable Oscar buzz around it in the weeks leading up to its release.

It’s based on a novel by Richard Yates, and another sad thing is that not many people are going to recognize that name when they read it. He wrote all of seven novels and two short story collections and died basically penniless in 1992, with the working manuscript of an unfinished novel in his freezer for safekeeping (in case of fire).

The theme is rather bleak - the idea that suburban married life destroys the soul - but the execution is really terrific. Yates was a writer of enormous talent who was terribly, terribly underappreciated in his time - and continues to be to this day. A recent novel by Tom Perrotta, Little Children, is in many ways strikingly similar to Revolutionary Road - including the fact that each novel is the best work of the respective author.

Another similarity - both film versions feature female leads played by Kate Winslet. Unfortunately - very unfortunately - Revolutionary Road has Leonardo DiCaprio as the male lead. The last time these two starred together (Titanic) they conspired - with James Cameron, lunatic - to make the most overrated movie in the history of cinema. The director this time around, though, is much better - Winslet’s husband Sam Mendes, who directed the very fine American Beauty.

One last similarity - and this starting to get a little odd, isn’t it? - this film was originally going to be the film that director Todd Field did after he finished In The Bedroom. Instead of doing Revolutionary Road, however, he decided to make - wait for it - Little Children.

If there is justice in this world, this film will generate enough buzz for Yates that Picador will usher back into print the three Yates novels that have for years been out of print - and perhaps bring Kate Winslet an Oscar that is long overdue.

1 comment:

Shane M. White said...

Sounds pretty cool, thanks for the heads up - I'll keep me eyes on this one! It sounds pretty interesting.

It sounds like you're not a big fan of Leo's. I agree with your comments about "Titanic". However, I've loved almost everything else Leo has done... "Basketball Diaries", "The Beach", "The Departed", even "Catch Me If You Can". So, I'm not too disappointed with that casting. Plus, I have complete faith in Sam Mendes.

Again, THANKS for bringing this film to my attention!