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Revolutionary Road


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#1 Alex Hall

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 11:45 PM

I just got done watching Revolutionary Road and once again Roger Deakins photography is fantastic. I really enjoyed the film overall. There was only one time that i was taken out of the film and that was when Leonardo DiCaprio is looking out the window at Kate Winslet during dusk, there was a drastic increase in grain that seemed out of place. It might have been the print I saw...

Overall it was a really good film, and a master class in naturalistic light.
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#2 Thom Stitt

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 12:13 AM

I haven't come to these boards in forever for whatever reason (I revisited to read some cinematographers' thoughts on the recent Shane Hurlbut fiasco), hence my total confusion about what my freaking log-in is.

Anyway - I'm really surprised there isn't more discussion about this movie! Just saw this last night. Definitely one of the most terrifying movies I've ever seen. A horror movie for anyone who thinks Suburbia is actually the boogie man.

I was surprised at the restraint shown in the cinematography. Perdition was full of incredibly sophisticated visual storytelling, and I was expecting something similar. But they really pulled it back for this one and observed.

I would have loved to work on this, to be in that house for the lighting and shooting. Aside from the scaffolds and the 12Ks encircling the house, this location shoot sounds exactly like the kind of no-budget indie that I've worked on a thousand times. To get Deakins and Mendes and those actors into that same space gets me excited in funny ways.

The movie is so observational at times it's actually quite hard to handle - I'm pleading for compassion while locked in this house where it's draining out, more and more by the day. Not sure how this could have been handled, but there was such little stylistic flair compared to Perdition - For example, the scene where Leonardo DiCaprio RUNS - it really stood out because it had this flair that seemed to be restrained for most of the film. I thought it was incredible though, the sound was pulled out, the music brought up, and we moved - fast - we were with him, and it was powerful.

A hard movie to watch though. I feel like too much was left out - why don't we get to know the kids? Isn't it crucial to? I haven't read Yates' novel, and I understand that Mendes wanted to emphasize and tell the story of the marriage, the relationship - but he also spends a lot of time on WORK, on DiCaprio's day job. We don't see Winslet much during the daytime, and we don't get to know the kids at ALL. For 90% of the movie, it's easy to forget they're even there. Is this movie an example of the subject being TOO focused?

It's a story where the subtext of American Suburban repression is presented as TEXT, in the case of the Wheelers and their search for "truth". But there are a few little gems here and there where it's back to subtext, presented in a more common context - as when the neighbor asks his kids what they're watching. And of course, that incredible, quiet, final scene before the credits. Snapshots of the American Nightmare, up close.

Great movie - I don't know if I ever want to watch it again.
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#3 Justin Hayward

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 01:32 AM

why don't we get to know the kids?


The kids seemed to conveniently disappear.

Photography-wise, I thought the scenes in the cafe/bar with Leonardo DiCaprio and his work buddies were extremely over-lit. Flat as a pancake.... and bright... They seemed very unnatural.

Everything else was fantastic.
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#4 Ira Ratner

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 11:19 AM

Thom, you really described it well. What an unsettling film, but wow--intense.

What do you think it was shot on?
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#5 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 02:18 PM

Loved the simplicity and the restraint Deakins showed on this. I thought the film was marvelous. I also thought the set design and the costume design were fantastic. Those narrow ties are gorgeous!
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#6 John Allen

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 03:52 PM

Loved the simplicity and the restraint Deakins showed on this. I thought the film was marvelous. I also thought the set design and the costume design were fantastic. Those narrow ties are gorgeous!


Couldn't agree more with ya Adam.

I had heard some reviewers saying how bad and simple it was, saying it was "as if a young cameraman had lit it." When people say that about a film I highly doubt that they really know one of the most important things that goes into achieving "great" cinematography, which is to portray the story through the lighting. To capture the vision of the director. Most people seem to think that you have to have visually stunning images to have a well shot film. Though I'm not saying that's wrong, I think it's often times misunderstood. Images can be visually dynamic if they work well with the story.

Edited by John Allen, 07 February 2009 - 03:53 PM.

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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 06:05 PM

After reading Gordon Willis' complaint about movies looking like "beer commercials", it reminded me of why I like Deakins' work so much... for its subtlety and quiet elegance.

Every scene isn't lit for a ton of mood, but instead, the contrast and light are modulated scene to scene so that when a particularly atmospheric moment is called for by the script, it will stand out as needed, not be buried because the whole movie has the same dramatic lighting in every scene. This movie called for scenes of quiet desperation within the creamy optimistic tones of 1950's suburbia as a form of visual irony and contrast, not for brooding atmospherics.
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#8 John Allen

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 11:32 PM

After reading Gordon Willis' complaint about movies looking like "beer commercials", it reminded me of why I like Deakins' work so much... for its subtlety and quiet elegance.

Every scene isn't lit for a ton of mood, but instead, the contrast and light are modulated scene to scene so that when a particularly atmospheric moment is called for by the script, it will stand out as needed, not be buried because the whole movie has the same dramatic lighting in every scene. This movie called for scenes of quiet desperation within the creamy optimistic tones of 1950's suburbia as a form of visual irony and contrast, not for brooding atmospherics.



Yes exactly David. Very, very well said. :)
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#9 barend jasper

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 05:20 PM

Yes exactly David. Very, very well said. :)


Not only did I nearly fall asleep halfway the film (despite the briliant acting), I was stunned by the fact that so many shots were out of focus. I'd love to know what this film was shot on... it had a 'video' feel to it. Any ideas?

Indeed, the kids were terribly unpresent, making me think that the couple weren't the real parents.

Beejay
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#10 John Allen

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 10:43 PM

Not only did I nearly fall asleep halfway the film (despite the briliant acting), I was stunned by the fact that so many shots were out of focus. I'd love to know what this film was shot on... it had a 'video' feel to it. Any ideas?

Indeed, the kids were terribly unpresent, making me think that the couple weren't the real parents.

Beejay


Those out of focus shots were on purpose. As for it being the director's idea or Rogers, I don't know, but they were definitely not mistakes.

It was shot using an Arricam and an Arri 535B. The film stocks he used were Kodak(as is the norm for Roger) 5217, and 5218.
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#11 Ayz Waraich

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 03:19 PM

This was probably one of my favorite works by Deakins. Really subtle and beautiful... and more importantly something that stayed stuck in my mind afterwards for a long while....
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#12 Gautam Valluri

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 07:52 AM

All I remember from the film was the colour 'White'- there was so much of it. As if the blandness of the Sub-urban life was itself hovering everywhere over the lives of the two principal characters. I love how claustrophobic the film gets in its indoor scenes- and Michael Shannon, how amazing he was!
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