Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Revolutionary Road a Revolutionary Experience: This film has become another in my own personal favorites. If a film makes it to my personal hit parade it means that it is, in my opinion, of intrinsic depth and phenomenal quality. It is so, I believe, in its content and in its acting. Both are superb! Kate Winslet's performance is simply riveting as is the performance of Leonardo DiCaprio. I was enthralled from the first moment the film began to its end.

There is so much in this movie to discuss and I will try to do so limiting and without revealing any crucial information. I could relate to Winslet's character who simply could not, within that time period, fulfill her desire to be something extraordinary. I could relate to DiCaprio's character, too, who wants success, sees the futility of a boring occupation and life but cannot quite allow himself to dare take the plunge into more exciting but unknown waters.

Their marital relationship is torturous because neither can give to the other what each so desperately needs and wants. It is a tumultuous and explosive relationship to say the least as each tries with futility to fill the void in the other's life and be what the other wants. Neither can deliver that. As Ratso Rizzo says in “Midnight Cowboy” there are "gaps" in life. The question here, I think, is can another human being fill those gaps or are we all responsible ultimately for our own satisfaction? What role, too, does society play in allowing us the freedom of movement to fill those gaps and live our happiness?

Too often, I think, one looks to another for the way to ultimate satisfaction only to be disappointed as one human being simply cannot do that entirely for another. The era of the 1950's and early 1960's with its rigid sex roles and unnecessary rules placed women and men too in the difficult position of looking to their mate to satisfy the emptiness in each other's lives within a stricture that does not allow for movement. If one’s happiness is not the other’s what does one do in a culture such as that? Truly, it is an impossible task for both characters to attempt. They are two different people trying to live a singular relationship that a marriage of that era demanded. Irrespective of when they first met, their relationship seemed wrong from its start. They were, however, trapped by the conventions of marriage and of the time in which they lived.

The antiseptic yet underlying combustible aspect of the 1950's is evident. It is somewhat reminiscent of the series “Mad Men” when during this ever-so-conventional time human beings submerge their feelings for the appearances of propriety. In that era one simply did not talk usually about uncomfortable psychic issues unless and until those feelings became a Vesuvian eruption seeking outlet somewhere and even then their depth was either misdirected or avoided entirely.

Without giving away the difficult end of the film it made me ever grateful I live in an era which enjoys the benefits of the revolutionary road of the late 1960s. It truly made me appreciate how necessary those changes were as we all strive for our own pursuit of happiness and because of that time have a bit more flexibility within which to move.

This film left me breathless and I fear my opinion above does not do all of it justice. Kudos to two other characters: Kathy Bates gives her usual excellent performance as the 1950’s prototype of a seemingly superficial woman selling real estate within very complex familial issues underneath the surface. Kudos also to Michael Shannon as Kathy Bates’s emotionally disturbed but very savvy adult son. It takes his pathological character to throw into view the depth and pathology of the Wheelers' feelings about themselves and each other. His character was a revolutionary road which threw open the window into the Wheelers’ soul and ignited the appropriate and only end which the film could have had.

This was a marvelous viewing experience.
This was in response to a Feb. 17, 2009 Daily News Story

Pardoning the Unpardonable: The article in Daily News about the now uneasy relationship between Bush and Cheney because of the Libby scandal was interesting. Link below.

When I read it it was as if I were Alice In Wonderland where down is up and up is down. How one could ever justify or promote in any way policies which led to the Libby conviction, I will never understand. How those in the Bush administration view the world and how I view the world is like we are living on different planets.

I believe George Bush is entitled to the last spot on the good president hierarchy. I think he should be judged after James Buchanan for a plethora of reasons. I will not make you endure my recitation of them. Finally, though, I found one thing to laud about George Bush and that is his refusal to pardon Scooter Libby.

Cheney, Rove and others should join Libby in all that has befallen him and more. These men were complicit in outing a CIA agent. To say that what he did is treason is, I believe, putting a good spin on the egregious crime that was committed. He should not even have had his sentence commuted. He should be in jail. The fact that Libby was not pardoned gives George Bush one plus point and one point only in determining the utter failure of his presidency.

Outing this CIA agent compromised our ability to get intelligence on nuclear weaponry. Who knows what Valerie Pflame may have found had her cover not been blown. I do NOT think that it is too extreme to suggest the outing of Valerie Pflame compromised the acquiring of intelligence by our country which could, over the long run, have proved vital. We will never know. Worse they exposed her to justify their own lies perpetrating a war that should never have been waged and which has killed, wounded, and displaced hundreds of thousands including causing the deaths of over 4200 US soldiers and counting. Worse still, if that is possible, it has upset the balance of power in the Middle East handing Iraq a bloodless victory and the Taliban an emergence in nuclear equipped Pakistan providing at least the possibility of nuclear war which could escalate uncontrollably.

Most, if they had done what the Bush cabal did, would suffer an unyielding fate. Those who have committed treason have been tried for much less!