Friday, December 04, 2009

Best of the Aughts: #24 Road to Perdition


Road to Perdition

The role of Michael Sullivan is not your typical Tom Hanks nice guy. He's a mob enforcer working for crime boss Paul Newman; but he's not malicious about it. He's almost a sympathetic mobster (probably the one sort of false note in the whole picture). Sullivan only kills when he's backed into a corner, such as when his boss's son (Daniel Craig) tries to execute Sullivan's entire family - Craig only succeeds in killing the wife and youngest son. In order to protect his oldest son, Sullivan flees from Newman's forces and seeks revenge on the mob family that betrayed him.

This film goes beyond a typical revenge tale. Director Sam Mendes, while proving himself quite capable of handling the actions scenes throughout, focuses more on the mood of the Depression Era Midwest and how those surroundings (and the circumstances that each character finds him or herself in) affects each role. This is a showcase of excellent acting from not only Hanks, but from Newman, Craig (in a role that offered a bit of a glimpse into his ability to take on a whole new Bond a few years later) and Jude Law.

A special mention should go to legendary cinematographer Conrad L. Hall, who pulled off a gorgeous looking film. Sadly, it was his last film. He was awarded an Oscar posthumously for his work.

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