out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
Road To Perdition
Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4
Tom Hanks takes a risky turn playing Michael Sullivan, a husband, father and
ruthless mob hit-man, in this original, deceptively simple, yet unpredictable,
1931 Depression-era tale. Based on Max Allan Collins & Richard Piers Rayner's
graphic novel, it's a violent story of betrayal, revenge and self-discovery.
When Sullivan's wife (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and younger son (Liam Aiken) are
killed, he vows vengeance while protecting his sole surviving son (Tyler
Hoechlin), who has seen too much and knows too much. There's a conflicted
relationship with his adoptive father, a patriarchal Irish-American gangster
(Paul Newman) whose sleazy son (Daniel Craig) has always been jealous of
Sullivan. So he seeks the support of Al Capone through his Chicago-based
enforcer, Frank Nitti (Stanley Tucci), who sends a maniacal assassin/
photographer (Jude Law) after him. It's too early to start talking Oscar but the
indelible performances of Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law and newcomer Tyler
Hoechlin must rank as among of the best of the year. Hanks seems cold,
calculating and inscrutable until you realize that emotional distance is his
only defense against despair, while the tragedy of Newman's conflict of loyalty
becomes etched on his face. Director Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") and
screenwriter David Self fearlessly delve into the many agonizing, unspoken,
often ironic permutations of father-son relationships. Conrad L. Hall's visually
poetic cinematography is darkly shadowed yet unflinching, and drenched with
rain, while Dennis Gassner's production design meticulously evokes the bitterly
cold, bleak period. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Road to Perdition"
is a poignant, mythic, powerful 10. It's a brutal Irish "Godfather" epic that
definitely ranks as a contender for Best Picture of the Year.
Copyright © 2002 Susan Granger
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