“If being crazy is living life as if it matters then I don’t care if we are completely insane”
That’s the whole issue. Living life as it matters. How does life matters? By what possible activity? Making money, driving a Bentley, having the girl of your dreams, your name on everyone’s lips and lives, a Mexican mistress with whom you can run off to Paris whenever you want to or drink beer with friends over a heated argument of what’s right for this country? What is it?
Sinking into a routine which has been decided for you by those you don’t know or have never met, squeezing every little possible drop of hope that you matter, at least to yourself if not someone else. Having a job, a lovely wife, having kids and dancing with them in the rain you just pass off as a couple which is perfect in all that makes sense to everybody, except that it doesn’t makes any bloody sense to you at all. What is the point? I’m putting myself to the torture of spending 8-9 hours of my life in an office which does what and why, I don’t have the slightest idea. I come back home and my wife looks at me more out of pity that one feels for a stray dog when it gets hurt, than due to love and affection we promised each other when we decided to get married.
Now a wife who thinks like that and doesn’t says anything either because she is not driven enough herself by that sacrilege that they are doing to both their lives or doesn’t have words good enough to pull you from that misery, is probably not the kind you married into but secretly wished to turn out into.
The wife in this case is exactly the opposite of what had been just described. She not only feels that void being created inside her husband but also experiences that it is also ruining the slightest possibility of being in her as well. So she revisits the past and recalls an incident in another time zone where her husband used to be somebody with a zest for life. “I just want to feel things, really feel them, and how is that for an ambition”. In order to bring him back so that she can find the tracks of her journey as well, which she seemed to have lost due to him, opens the Pandora’s Box. All hell breaks loose because what has been going on real quiet inside them comes out on the table, and each one them start finding fault with what the other has to say or think.
The movie deals with the ifs and buts of ones motives in their respective lives, more importantly whether one has a motive at all or not. Being alive even once in a day built out of a cacophony because some strings of the guitar aren’t tight enough inside your head. When you make love to your wife it shouldn’t be out of charity which you are doing to your own self, but because of the shear beauty of that connection that transpires between two people and appreciate life as it should be.
Kate Winslet towers in a role that only a husband could write for his wife for the magic that a partner expects from his counterpart to bring about in his life, which ironically is true in this case. She as a wife of the fifties with her dreams gone astray is like Frost sitting in the forest and mourning his dead brother. Leonardo on the other hand convinces me more that he is restricted as an actor and beyond a certain limit he fails to deliver (reminds me too much of Howard Hughes’s portrayal).
The splendor is definitely the pace at which the movie makes its way into your heart leaving you baffled with all those dilemmas in life. Shades of American beauty can also be seen when April is dancing with Shep-her neighbor, (remember the Angela Hayes dance), took me back in time. When I saw Jarhead I felt that Sam was inclined with a strange arrogance towards Kubrick and this movie gives a proof to my hypothesis.
The only flaw in the movie is that it’s predictable, especially in the second half. You can literally vent out some of the dialogues because you have lived in that realm for more than what you can bear. The conversations between Leo and Kate are breathtaking in the second half, despite being predictable, because sometimes you don’t say those things even to yourself also and you have to love someone really badly to feel so sorry for her.
I heard this incorrigible line somewhere “If human life can be ruled by reason, the possibility of life is destroyed”. Well the movie is about that reason which is destroying the possibility of everyone’s life.
originally published for passionforcinema.com at http://passionforcinema.com/monotonic-road/