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Road To Perdition

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Road To Perdition

Starring: Tom Hanks, Paul Newman
Director: Sam Mendes
Rated: R
RunTime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: July 2002
Genre: Drama

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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