Revolutionary Road appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was a generally solid transfer.
Sharpness came across well. Some wider shots tended to be a bit iffy, but those failed to create prominent distractions. Overall, the image was accurate. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but mild edge haloes caused some distractions. Source flaws caused no concerns, as the flick remained clean and fresh at all times.
Like virtually all period pieces, Express went with a stylized palette. The flick cast much of its material in a golden hue that gave it a vintage amber tone. Within that range, the colors looked solid. Blacks seemed deep and firm, while shadows provided nice clarity and delineation. For the most part, this was a positive presentation.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Revolutionary Road worked fine for the material. The soundscape didn’t provide a lot of pizzazz. Music demonstrated nice stereo imaging, and some outdoor sequences added a decent sense of place. This was a forward-oriented mix that used the surrounds in a moderate manner.
Audio quality seemed satisfying. Speech always appeared warm and natural, with no edginess or other issues. Music was full, as the score showed solid reproduction. Effects also boasted good clarity and definition, though they didn’t exactly push the auditory envelope. Overall, the soundtrack was perfectly acceptable for this sort of flick.
When we shift to the supplements, we open with an audio commentary from director Sam Mendes and screenwriter Justin Haythe. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the adaptation of the source novel, script/story issues, cast and performances, editing, shooting on location, photographic style, period details, and music.
We get a dynamic commentary here, mostly thanks to the chatty Mendes. Haythe chips in as well, but the director does most of the heavy lifting. All of the examined areas prove interesting, but I especially like the comparisons between the movie and the novel. The track tears through a lot of useful subjects and moves at a good pace.
Next we find a featurette entitled Lives of Quiet Desperation: The Making of Revolutionary Road. It runs 29 minutes, one second and features Mendes, Haythe, producers Bobby Cohen and John Hart, production designer Kristi Zea, property master Thomas Allen, costume designer Albert Wolsky, and actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Zoë Kazan and Michael Shannon. “Lives” looks at the project’s development and Mendes’s involvement, locations and production design, cinematography and period details, and the film’s themes.
Even thought the commentary covered a ton of information, we don’t find much repetition here. “Lives” digs into a mix of topics in a rich, involving manner. The additional perspectives add to its as well, so we get a good take on the film.
Five Deleted Scenes run a total of nine minutes, 50 seconds. These include “I’m Sorry” (1:22), “Birthday” (2:50), “Big Shot” (1:09), “Nothing’s Permanent” (1:17), and “Dear Frank” (3:12). Though most cut scenes aren’t very good, these have merit. I particularly like “Birthday”, as it reminds us how much Frank’s glory days seem to be behind him. The others don’t work quite as well for me, but all are interesting and viable.
We can view these scenes with or without commentary from Mendes and Haythe. They tell us a little about the sequences and let us know why the scenes didn’t make the cut. As was the case with the feature commentary, Mendes dominates. We learn some useful info about the excised clips.
A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Defiance, and There Will Be Blood. These also appear in the Previews domain. No trailer for Road shows up here.
American Beauty director Sam Mendes revisits suburbia to erratic effect in Revolutionary Road. The movie has its moments but doesn’t seem inventive or involving enough to soar. The DVD provides perfectly acceptable picture and audio along with a good little collection of supplements. This becomes a reasonably positive release for an erratic film.