A mob enforcer goes after his employers after they
murder his family due to his son witnessing an execution.
Road to Perdition (2002)
Directed by Sam Mendes
Written by David Self
Starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Daniel Craig, Jude Law,
Tyler Hoechlin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Stanley Tucci
Based on the graphic novel by Max Allan Collins
and Richard Piers Rayner
Oscar Wins - Best Cinematography
Oscar Nominations - Best Supporting Actor (Paul Newman),
Best Art Direction, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing,
Best Original Score (Thomas Newman)
Road to Perdition is a beautiful cinematic work of art that is often overlooked when critics are discussing the greatest films of the 2000's. Not only is this Paul Newman's last live-action performance before his death, it features an unforgettable dark turn for Tom Hanks, Daniel Craig as a sadistic mobster, and one of the most moving film scores in history from Thomas Newman. This film is an absolute gem that deserves far more attention than it has ever received.
Tom Hanks is Michael Sullivan, a mob enforcer whose young son Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) witnesses his father and mobster Connor Rooney (Craig) kill a man. Connor, jealous of Sullivan's relationship with his father John Rooney (Newman), murders Sullivan's wife and son and tries to kill him too. When Sullivan and Michael Jr. get away, Sullivan makes it his mission to find and kill Connor and anyone who harbors him. The film is ultimately about redemption and what kind of legacy we leave behind for our children. Every poignant moment feels earned because we're right there with Sullivan. He's a mobster, but he's a father. Even John Rooney, the boss, is sympathetic because he loves Sullivan like a son and doesn't want to have to choose between him and Connor. Every actor gives a strong performance tempered in an utter loss of innocence in an era where life and death were decided in the rain with a Tommy gun.
Road to Perdition is one of my favorite gangster films because it defies expectations about how certain characters act. Everybody has a spark of humanity that determines where their actions take them. When I watched it earlier today, I hadn't seen it in over a decade. I fell in love with it all over again because it's the kind of film that lasts forever.