Posts Tagged ‘kate winslet’

Director: Stephen Daldry / Cast: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes and David Kross

Law versus morality is at the chilling heart of this potent film whose complex themes begin with a young man’s first sexual encounter and traverses uncomfortable territory including that of harrowing war crimes. As the movie begins, the late-afternoon twilight seems to hide a quality of mystery, even sexual possibility.

A teenage boy, Michael (Kross) is suddenly taken ill on a German street. A woman in her 30s, Hanna Schmitz (Winslet), very curt and matter-of-fact, sees that he’s taken care of, and when the young fellow recovers, months later, he shows up at her apartment to thank her. To show the audience how Hanna explores the world of books and getting in touch with the world of reading and writing, Daldry presents to us a 30 something Hanna wanting to quench the thirst of literature through her almost daily physical intimacy with Michael. Shortly after, the pair begins a lustful affair that lasts only for a summer. Years later, as Michael sits in on a trial against female Nazi guards, he is shocked to find Hanna among the group.

‘The Reader’ is adapted by David Hare from the renowned best-selling literary sensation by German novelist Bernhard Schlink and is seamlessly directed by the formidable Stephen Daldry. It stars Kate Winslet in an Oscar-winning performance that is the best of her career. The story is told through the eyes of Michael’s older self (Fiennes), and the movie is told through a series of lengthy flashbacks. It’s a brilliant approach that allows us to see through Fiennes’ outstanding performance, the depth of the effect that his involvement with Hanna has had on his life. Winslet and Kross are the backbone of the film, as they portray Hanna Schmitz and the young Michael Berg, respectively. Ultimately, their chemistry and interplay is electrifying and makes you really feel for their characters.

The main reason to view this film is Kate Winslet. This has got to be the best performance of her already stellar career, where she is so bold as to accept and tackle an amoral role like Hanna, and still come out as someone that you can somehow sympathize with. The story is shocking, but in a way that will surprise and unsettle you. ‘The Reader’ informs, entertains, provokes our thought, and touches our heart and soul in deep ways.

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Director: Sam Mendes / Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

Based on Richard Yates’ 1962 novel (selected by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels since 1923), director Sam Mendes brings ‘Revolutionary Road’ to the big screen and reunites its stars for the first time since they paired for the highest grossing film of all time, ‘Titanic’. The film opens boldly enough, spending just a few fleeting moments showing us how the Wheelers (DiCaprio and Winslet) met before throwing us head first into their disaster of a marriage.

It’s the 1950’s in Connecticut. Frank (DiCaprio) and April (Winslet) Wheeler are married with two kids – a bickering couple that can break into a screaming match of hateful words in an instant. Both April and Frank seem to hate their mundane existence. Frank commuting to his soul-sucking desk job every day and April attending to her two kids like what is expected of her. It is April who takes the initiative to find a solution and mend their marriage. She proposes to relocate to Paris and start a new life. The plans reinvigorate the couple and everything seems on the right track. Despite the shocked reactions of their friends, the Wheelers are resolute in their plans. But slowly events transpire which challenge the ability to keep their plans afloat and thus their marriage.

‘Revolutionary Road’ dissects a marriage, in two distinct and significant directions. The movie captures the timeless torment of an unhappy marriage, in the way the spouses know each other’s weak spots and go for them, and in the way arguments can explode the simplest of beginnings.

The acting is of the highest caliber, especially by the always-amazing Kate Winslet. Whether she is yelling at Frank or holding back her emotions, you always feel April’s pain and empathize with her desire to escape a life of mediocrity. DiCaprio is just as good, and you can’t help but feel for his affecting but flawed, character. Moreover, the set design and costumes are immaculate, and the cinematography is perfect. But as you are an hour into the film, you will realise, although DiCaprio enjoys the same screen time, it is Winslet’s film.

‘Revolutionary Road’ can be interpreted in many ways. You can watch it from Frank or April’s point of view. Mendes’ direction shines through the dim premise and while it’s unlikely to leave any audience member happy, simply due to its depressing nature, it may just enlighten some.