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Road to Perdition

The 2002 crime drama directed by Sam Mendes and starring Tom Hanks.

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Fathers and sons

  • Aug 20, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+5
Road to Perdition is a movie that brings you in with the strong performances of its acting cast and keeps your interest with cinematography that is some of the finest ever seen in Hollywood. It is a tale of fathers, their sons, and the gangster era of Al Capone. It pits hit man Michael Sulivan (Hanks) against a bounty hunter (Jude Law) who has been hired by his boss, and father figure John Rooney (Paul Newman) as Sulivan attempts to kill Rooney's trigger happy son (Daniel Craig). At the same time Sulivan must teach and protect his son (Tyler Hoechlin).

Without spoiling anymore plot points of the film I can say that the center of this film is the bonds forged by fatherhood. Sulivan seeing John Rooney as a father figure gives this movie an entirely new depth that wasn't seen in Max Allan Collins' graphic novel. Don't get me wrong, the movie also loses several aspects of its source material; I would have liked them to use the ending from the graphic novel that shows what type of man Michael Sulivan Jr. grows up to be. Road to Perdition is a stylish movie adaption of a great graphic novel that knows what to change without ruining the store. In many ways this makes it similar to 1994's The Crow, where the story is drastically changed, but through visuals and music the film not only feels like the graphic novel, but manages to reach greatness all its own.

Acting from Hanks and Newman is absolutely phenomenal. Both actors really give it their best and give off a strong sense of emotional attachment and care. Hanks turns in a great performance as an anti-hero proving that he is one of the greatest actors currently living and Paul Newman makes sure his final performance is a great one. The rest of the cast is good too, but this pair is absolutely dynamite!

Sam Mendes and cinematographer Conrad L. Hall (who would win the Academy award for his work in this film) create an awesome visual experience. Sam Mendes said that after the Best Picture winning American Beauty he wanted to make a film that focused more on telling its story through visuals instead of dialogue and he succeeds. This is a well crafted drama that lets its images do all the talking that is needed to tell the story.

The somber score by Thomas Newman captures the mood of this period piece. It doesn't have much excitement in it, but it has a quiet, eerie tune that helps the mood. A song entitled 'Ghosts' which appears in one of the climatic scenes is one of the most beautiful, haunting pieces of music I've ever heard.

If you haven't seen Road to Perdition, go out and rent it. It is a father and son story that is unlike any other that will stay with you long after the credits begin to roll.

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More Road to Perdition (2002 film) reviews
review by . January 27, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Before seeing this film for the first time, I already knew that Tom Hanks plays a hit man for the mob. Tom Hanks? As I then viewed the film, I assumed that Hanks accepted the role because he liked the script, respected director Sam Mendes, and wanted to work with Paul Newman. I also guessed (only a guess) that he wanted a role "out of character." That is, he wanted to depart from the Hanks persona so firmly established in earlier films, notably Splash (1984), Big (1988), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), …
review by . October 11, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
For some reason I was really looking forward to "Road to Perdition." Perhaps it was because I liked Sam Mendes' first film, "American Beauty," so much. Or maybe it was the fact that Thomas Newman, one of my new favorite composers, wrote the score for the film. It could have been that Tom Hanks doesn't usually play this sort of role, or that it's a film based on a pretty good graphic novel, a fact which seemed played down in many circles.     One thing I can say is don't go seeing …
review by . April 04, 2003
Whether or not Tom Hanks and Paul Newman fall into the great actors category for their roles in this film seems irrelevant when measuring the film's overall ability to entertain. Sadly, this 30s period piece involving murderous Irish gangsters flops miserably. The plot although reasonable is predictable from the moment the young son appears and begins his monologue against the backdrop of the roiling surf. Actually watching the trailer and drawing your own conclusions sufficiently will convey the …
review by . February 27, 2003
This movie has many, many great things to recommend it. The cinematography and art direction are first rate. The casting is very good, I think. Tom Hanks as an "enforcer" for the mob is not terribly hard to buy. He does his job because its what he owes to his boss, who was like a father to him, and its what keeps his family living a nice life. He works hard to keep his family insulated from what he does for a living, and Hanks is right for the part. We know him as a nice guy. He's trustworthy and …
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   I'm an aspiring filmmaker who loves the crafts of the cinema. I write reviews as a side hobby.
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InRoad to Perdition, Tom Hanks plays a hit man who finds his heart. Michael Sullivan (Hanks) is the right-hand man of crime boss John Rooney (Paul Newman), but when Sullivan's son accidentally witnesses one of his hits, he must choose between his crime family and his real one. The movie has a slow pace, largely because director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) seems to be in love with the gorgeous period locations. Hanks gives a deceptively battened-down performance at first, only opening up toward the very end of the film, making his character's personal transformation all the more convincing. Newman turns in a masterful piece of work, revealing Rooney's advancing age but at the same time, his terrifying power. Jude Law is also a standout, playing a hit man-photographer with chilling creepiness. This movie requires a little patience, but the beautiful cinematography and moving ending make it well worth the wait.--Ali Davis
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