Road to Perdition  [DVD]
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Tom Hanks stars in this gangster drama set in the American Midwest during the 1930s. Twelve-year-old Michael Sullivan Jr is curious about what his father (Hanks) does for a living, and one night decides to hide in his car as he goes off to work. It soon transpires that the elder Sullivan is a hitman for the mob, and when young Michael witnesses a killing carried out by the gangster boss' son Connor (Daniel Craig), it starts off a chain of events which will mark Michael's life forever. Co-starring Paul Newman and Jude Law and directed by Sam Mendes.
A movie with an impeccable pedigree, Road to Perdition is director Sam Mendes' impressive follow-up to American Beauty, and features remarkable contributions from veteran cinematographer Conrad Hall, composer Thomas Newman and a cast of thespian brilliance led by Tom Hanks, Paul Newman and Jude Law. Unfortunately, all their fine efforts have been lavished on an essentially predictable story, adapted from the graphic novel, which here unfolds in an overly leisurely fashion. The result is a movie that looks wonderful but feels a little too much like a contrived morality play.
Hanks plays Michael Sullivan, a family man but also a hit man in the employ of mob boss John Rooney (Newman). A surrogate father-figure to Sullivan, Rooney also has a wayward real son, Connor (Daniel Craig), whose duplicity leads to a deadly alienation between the Rooney family and Sullivan. Forced to go on the run with his own 12-year-old son, Michael junior (Tyler Hoechlin), Sullivan seeks both revenge and a way to prevent his boy from one day taking the same dark road as himself. Thus the Road to Perdition becomes both a literal and metaphorical journey for the protagonists.
It wouldn't matter that there's little tension or doubt about the outcome, except that Hanks' character is all too clearly a decent chap at heart, thus undermining from the outset any sense of a real "journey" towards redemption. It remains a delight to see all the principals acting at their peak and so capably directed, but ultimately Road to Perdition seems like a series of magnificently staged set-pieces that doesn't quite add up to the sum of its parts.
On the DVD: Road to Perdition is presented in an anamorphic version of its original theatrical 2.35:1 ratio with accompanying Dolby 5.1 or DTS sound options. Both picture and sound make the most of the impeccable photography and production design. Extras are a feature commentary from Mendes, a series of deleted scenes also with optional commentary, a standard HBO making of featurette, plus photos, text notes and a trailer for the CD soundtrack. --Mark Walker
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Top Customer Reviews
Conrad L. Hall, to whom the film is dedicated, uses photography to its fullest advantage, winning a posthumous Academy Award for his cinematography. Shot in winter, the film preserves the flavor of early black and white films, with sharp, black and white contrasts, and the use of dark, somber colors, when colors are used at all. Snow, ice, rain, and fog perpetuate the cold darkness of the scenes, and Hall's use of architectural framing is stunning, particularly his repeated use of windows. He keeps the scenes simple, often focusing on individual characters in contexts which reveal their emotional states. In one memorable scene, for example, light from a streetlight outside a window casts the shadow of rain on an interior wall, suggesting both tears and cleansing.
Newman is terrific as an aging mob boss, playing his part with just the right mix of frailty and cruelty (for which he won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor).Read more ›
The transfer is good in that it improves the colours and levels of darkness (many dark scenes at the start of the movie). Lots of grain (as intended). It's worthy of the upgrade from DVD if it's reasonably priced (<£13) and you own a large TV. Audio is great, much more atmospheric than the DVD.
Another cover that doesn't give the languages but here's what are actually on the Blu-Ray:
Languages: English DTS master; Italian DTS; Castillian Spanish
Subs: English; Danish; Finnish; Italian; Norwegian; Swedish; Castillian Spanish; Croatian; Icelandic; Slovakian;
This is a very good revenge movie after the sullivan family is killed off with only Michael and his son Michael Jr surviving by the big boss Rooney played by Paul Newman all he'll breaks loose.
Michael sullivan seeks revenge on the Rooney family taking both theyer business and theyer lives away from them doing all of this whilst being chased over 1930 s America by a hit an played superbly by jude law.
Whilst all this is happening you see before you on screen a father and son bonding whilst sullivan tries to extinguish a whole gangster family the film has loads of action it keeps on ticking on at a steady pace.
The American countryside looks wonderful one sceen of father and son travelling in theyer car along the road with trees each side of them the golden leaves looks fantadtic the clothing cars and scenery all look authentic.
The ending was great something I was not expecting well done sam mandes great job for directing a great film fantastic story telling thus is more than a gangster story it's heartfelt a father and son'so unbreakable bond.
It doesn't have the violence and the epic feeling of other big gangster movies such as Godfather, Goodfellas or Casino. It has more of a feeling of intimacy and sorrow.
It has a few shocks that many main stream films would not put in your 'feel good' action/thriller movie. The crux of the plot is a young boy's realisation that his respected but somewhat distant father is a highly placed mob gunman.
Key moments of violence are portrayed less as gung-ho but in a more with world weary, down beat style. One act of revenge is particularly surprising in that its delivered coldly, briefly and virtually unseen.
The downbeat feeling is the heart of the movie. Newman ( who is particularly good ) and Hanks are reflective, sad and sensitive. It is never stated, but you can't help feeling Hank's gangster character is a decent man led astray in the past. Newman also shows regret at his life as a crime boss and his inability to control the events that unfold. Most scenes take place at night, in shadow or in the pouring rain giving a nice dark texture to events.
The ending is predictable and the final scenes had me gritting my teeth in frustration to stifle the need to shout 'behind you!!'.
Overall this is a good movie that satisfies. If you like Tom Hanks, Gangster movies or serious thrillers I would recommend
Road To Perdition.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What an amazing film. I cannot understand why amazon have given it such a bad write up, amazon - you have your Head Up Your Clouds (to put things politely). Read morePublished 6 days ago by Mr. Mark Deacon.
An excellent movie story line, expertly directed by Sam Mendes, 5 STARS without reservation. But, a big BUT, why on earth are the subtitles for the hard of hearing off the picture... Read morePublished 3 months ago by AMX