Director Sam Mendes has only made a handful of movies, but that handful of movies have revealed the filmmaker as someone with keen insight into human relationships. Sometimes they focus on interpersonal relationships and sometimes how people relate to their situation, the thing they all have in common is that the characters have genuine feelings and true emotions. Last year, Mendes helmed a film that got a lot of people's attention and was nominated for multiple Academy Awards and Golden Globes. What made this film stand out was the amped up relationship between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as the veil of suburban happiness was ripped away to reveal seething anger and resentment once the dreams of youth are torn asunder and the reality of a mundane life settles into place. I liked the movie, to an extent, but have no desire to revisit it. The movie was Revolutionary Road and it is a movie I do not believe Mendes wants to go back there either.
To that end, Mendes is already back on the big screen, less than a year after that two hour shouting match. His new movie is called Away We Go, and it comes across as the complete opposite of Revolutionary Road. It still has a human relationship at its core, but other than that the differences are night and day. It is almost as if Sam Mendes intentionally went after a happier story about characters that do actually love each other to use to cleanse his soul. I completely believe that after the experience of making such a downer of a movie, something is needed to get you back to an even keel. Believe me, he picked the right project.
In addition to Away We Go being a more uplifting project, it is also one that gets away from the studio-championed Oscar-bait drama that was Revolutionary Road (it was a good movie, more than just bait, but it still has that feel about it) and more towards the independent spirit that has been lacking of late. The movie, and the trailer before it, just screams "INDIE!" It is not that it is a bad thing, but it is a little different from his last project.