Monday, 1 July 2013

Road to Perdition (2002) - ★★★★★

Director: Sam Mendes
Writers: David Self (Screenplay), Max Allan Collins, Richard Piers Rayner (Graphic Novel)
Stars: Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Daniel Craig, Jude Law, Tyler Hoechlin

I loved Road to Perdition. It is dark yet sensitive, thrilling yet utterly beautiful. I was in awe of how smoothly the story unfurled. What had me more surprised was how emotional I was when it finished. The performances are masterful, the music is among the most beautiful scores I've ever heard, the cinematography submerses you into the 1930s, and this film is nothing short of perfect. When people ask me if Road to Perdition is a good film, I'll always give them the same answer. I'll just tell them... it's a masterpiece.

Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) works as an assassin for the elderly crime boss John Rooney (Paul Newman). They're practically father and son who have the utmost respect for each other. However, after his son Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) is witness to a killing he has done, Mike finds himself on the run trying to save the life of his son. At the same time he looks for revenge on those who wronged him.

No, this isn't your typical gangster film. While crime is a major part of the film, I believe that the relationship between father and son is the dominant theme. Tom Hanks and Tyler Hoechlin have such a spectacular chemistry in this film. It's effortless really. They come across as a father and son that don't know much about one another, yet they love each other unconditionally.

While many people would argue that Road to Perdition moves too slow, I wouldn't change a thing about this movie. The long establishing shots are some of the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen in a film. What makes this movie and its characters so easy to connect to is the combination of perfect cinematography and music. They just heighten the emotions and life-lessons on screen, making them stick in my mind forever.

Every performance was a career-high for the actors involved. Yes, even Tom Hanks. After seeing this movie, there's not a doubt in my mind that Hanks is one of the greatest actors of all time. I've seen him play a homosexual, a retard, an ambitious astronaut, a sensitive prison-guard, and even a crazy man stranded on an island. His role as a no-nonsense hit-man in Road to Perdition truly does rank up there as one of his best. As for Newman, let's just say that this is the role I'll always remember him for.

Here's why I think Road to Perdition is a masterpiece. The story and dialogue was powerful, thrilling, and extremely moving. The performances by every single actor was perfect, making the characters both human and relatable. The cinematography was at times mind-blowingly amazing, then touchingly simple in all the places it needed to be. To wrap it all up, the music was not only fitting, but one of the most memorable and beautiful scores in the history of cinema.

This movie comes full circle. Every aspect compliments another, whether it be music/acting or cinematography/story. It all fits perfectly. Right at the very end of the film, the purpose of the journey reveals itself. That line at the very end is one I can relate too, and I'm sure many others can too. "When people ask me if Michael Sullivan was a good man, or if there was just no good in him at all, I always give the same answer. I just tell them... he was my father."

When people ask me if Road to Perdition is a good film, I'll always give them the same answer. I'll just tell them... it's a masterpiece.

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