Filmmaker returns to suburban battlefield

With the precision of a Special Forces unit, British filmmaker Sam Mendes ventured into dysfunctional family territory in “American Beauty” and exposed its characters’ dreams and weaknesses with flair and brutal wit.

Having struggled since with campaigns into mythic pulp (“Road to Perdition”) and the first Iraq war (“Jarhead”), Mendes has returned to the battlefield of suburban turmoil with an adaptation of the acclaimed Richard Yates novel “Revolutionary Road” and has shown once more how sharp he is at leading a troop of actors — in this case Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Michael Shannon and Kathy Bates — to be all that they can be.

Trophies: Oscar; DGA Award; Golden Globe; Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.

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