In the Dark

Pretenders

Revolutionary Road
Produced and distributed by Dreamworks and BBC Films
Directed by Sam Mendes
Screenplay by Justin Haythe from Richard Yates’ novel

The Lemon Tree
Produced by Eran Riklis Productions and Heimatfilm
Directed by Eran Riklis
Screenplay by Suha Arraf
Distributed by IFC Films

 

British director Sam Mendes has turned Richard Yates’ 1961 novel, Revolutionary Road, into a thorough scolding.  As he did with American Beauty eight years ago, he chastises his Yankee cousins for their mulish devotion to tradition, especially regarding abortion.  As causes go, this seems an awfully belated tilt at a sadly defunct windmill.

(You may want to stop here if you have not seen the film.  What follows gives away a good deal of its plot.)

Mendes’ film is another tale of claustrophobic 1950’s America when, as everyone knows, middle-class suburbanites were straitjacketed and lobotomized by a consumerist culture that demanded absolute obedience to its commercial edicts.  Once again we’re treated to the horrors of Eisenhower, McCarthy, and the lockstep conformity they demanded of the citizenry from boardroom to bedroom.  See all those men emerging from Grand Central Station wearing three-button suits and fedoras?  Gives you the shudders, doesn’t...

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