Perhaps the best scene in Revolutionary Road occurs when Kate Winslet and a friend are left by their spouses at a bar and they start dancing. The two dance to period swing music showered in red light. Director Sam Mendes establishes a nice feel with atmospheric cuts and camera movements to the music. But suddenly the period music is muted and replaced by composer Thomas Newton Howard’s original score. It is a very effective shift that distances the viewer from the narrative flow and makes him reflect on the film’s themes of relationships, conflict, hopes, dreams and suburban life. Not very different from the old theatre instructor Bertol Brecht who suggested that the viewer should be jolted out of the story, thus provocing him or her to reflect on the relationship between art and the real world.
Mendes shoots the movie fairly conservatively, but there are moments when camera movement strengthens the tension and drama of the movie, such as when the camera slowly moves backwards away from Kate Winslet, reveilling her blood stained dress. As the camera continues to move backwards the intensity hightens. It is a nice example of visual story telling that Sam Mendes can stand to do more of.