1931. Mike Sullivan and Connor Rooney are two henchmen of elderly downstate IL-based (Quad City area, though much of the action takes place in the Chicago area) Irish-American mobster John Rooney, Connor's father. In many respects, John treats Mike more as his son, who he raised as his own after Mike was orphaned, than the volatile Connor, who nonetheless sees himself as the heir apparent to the family business. One evening, Mike's eldest son, twelve year old Michael Sullivan Jr., who has no idea what his father does for a living, witnesses Connor and his father gun down an associate and his men, the situation gone wrong initiated from an action by Connor. Caught witnessing the incident, Michael is sworn to secrecy about what he saw. Regardless, Connor, not wanting any loose ends, makes an attempt to kill Mike, his wife and their two sons. Mike and the surviving members of his family know that they need to go on the run as Connor, who has gone into hiding, will be protected through ... Written by
When Michael and his son first arrive in Chicago, there is a brief shot of bright silver metal cars on the El. They were introduced in the 1980s. In 1931, the cars would have been made of wood and painted dark brown. See more »
Michael Sullivan, Jr.:
There are many stories about Michael Sullivan. Some say he was a decent man. Some say there was no good in him at all. But I once spent 6 weeks on the road with him, in the winter of 1931. This is our story.
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Thanks to all at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, London See more »
`Road to Perdition' is a rocky road of revenge and reconciliation, punctuated by some gorgeous Conrad Hall cinematography.
`Road to Perdition' is a rocky road of revenge and reconciliation, punctuated by some gorgeous Conrad Hall cinematography. Tom Hanks is a 1930's mob hit man whose 12 year-old son sees him commit a murder. The rest of Director Sam Mendes' (`American Beauty') film is the boy's coming to terms with that knowledge. Paul Newman plays a `godfather,' a father to his errant son and like a father to Hanks.
Laced throughout are 3 father-son relationships, which seem to move toward the violent ends reserved for mobsters. Hanks' son is ambivalent about his dad, whom he seems to adore yet hold accountable for his crimes. Newman's son is like Sonny Corleone, too loose to be in charge and no heir apparent; Hanks owes his lifestyle to Newman-all these relationships are subsumed by the business needs of the larger organization.
This is noir with a dark palette, costuming in clothes metaphorically heavy, and sounding often as stylized and minimal as the murders Hanks commits. `Road to Perdition' lacks the grandeur of Coppola's `Godfather' epic, but it succeeds in evoking an old-testament judicial system where eye meets eye and tooth savages tooth. The revenge motif is too dominant to let the film rest on the promising father-son motif.
Hanks' son learns about morality and decides about following in his father's footsteps. Hanks gives another controlled performance, and Paul Newman lets us know there is room for one more powerful screen godfather.
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