64. Road to Perdition - The Part-Time Critic

Thursday, May 28, 2009

64. Road to Perdition

Road to Perdition (2002)
Directed by Sam Mendes

Another excellent film from a stellar 2002 and it's one that I've been off and on with over the last few years. My initial reaction to the film was one of disappointment and frustration. Sure, I had heard that Tom Hanks played a 'bad guy' in the film but I wasn't expecting to watch what was basically a 'good guy' just making bad decisions. So by the end of the film, although I really enjoyed it, how could I love a film in which characters make frustratingly wrong choices?

Over time I have come to appreciate films and narratives that may present us with fallible and tragic characters, but also provide us with insight and wisdom; this is main reason that I truly appreciate Road to Perdition. It combines two story threads, one of revenge and one of the relationships between fathers and sons, and wrings out every irony, conflict, and truths that those threads can deliver. I am still fustrated by the tragic choices in the film, but I am right to be fustrated. These characters have a story to tell and their wrong choices teach me as much, if not more, than had they chosen a different path.

Outside of that, this one of the finest looking films ever shot. Much like, but vastly superior to, Sam Mendes and Conrad Hall's previous film American Beauty, Road to Perdition is strikingly beautiful and measured. Hall and Mendes deliver some stunning images, but also create a couple of incredible suspenseful sequences between Hanks and Jude Laws' assassin. All in all, Road to Perdition is a challenging film that has a slew of rewards for its audience.

P.S. Those rewards also include a great Paul Newman performance and a fantastic musical score
Here is the trailer, a really good one

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