The Road to Perdition
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie has predictably coarse language from the 1930s gangsters, as well as some bloody murder scenes, always by gunfire. A woman and small child are killed off screen, and the main characters are often in peril.
What's the story?
ROAD TO PERDITION centers on Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks), a tough hit man in 1931 Chicago, whose loyalty and sense of duty keep him working for John Rooney (Paul Newman), a friendly but firm Irish mob boss . Rooney treats Sullivan like a son. Sullivan keeps his family out of his work, but when his curious son Michael, Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) sees something he isn't supposed to see, Rooney's jealous and paranoid son Connor (Daniel Craig) tries to make sure he doesn't talk by killing Sullivan's wife (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and youngest son (Liam Aiken) but missing Michael Jr. Sullivan sets out on a road trip with his surviving son as he seeks vengeance Connor and tries to avoid his former affiliates. Along the way he robs banks while his son drives the getaway car. To make matters worse, there is a sadistic, despicable man who photographs murder scenes (Jude Law) on Sullivan's trail, and he's willing to assist the murder process to get a good shot. Adventures ensue, and the Sullivans meet many people and go many places with mixed results until the film's inevitable conclusion.
Is it any good?
Road to Perdition is a powerful, beautifully made film about fathers and sons and sin and redemption, that overrides minor flaws through beautiful directing and first class performances. It's one of the best made films of 2002, and Mendes, Hanks, and Newman are sure to be remembered during Oscar predictions at the end of the year. The story is interesting, with the father-son relationships and David Self's adapted screenplay being both realistic and intriguing.
However, some important factors, such as more about Jude Law's character and some essential aspects of Sullivan and Rooney's relationship are ignored, as this ambitious film is scared of being overlong, an oft-criticized quality of epic dramas like The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. It leaves the viewer to decide, but if it had just gone out on a limb there, the film could've been saved from having some baffling moments at its conclusion.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why Mr. Sullivan was so bent on killing the murderer of his family, and even what makes criminals likeable in movies.