Road to Perdition
, 04 Jan 2011
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
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Road to Perdition is quite a slow film, but director Sam Mendes packs it full of poetic beauty making it seem worth while.
In short, the story follows Mike Sullivan (Tom Hanks) who is a hit man to crime boss John Rooney. However after his son Michael witnesses one of his killings, he finds himself on the run trying to save his and his son's life, as well as still seeking revenge on those who have wronged him.
So as stated before, this film is a visually stunning piece of cinema. Mendes does a fantastic job with this film and manages to allow us into Michael's mindset, making us understand his fathers relationship with him. He creates a very visual dark tone to the film's entirety, which is a fantastic subtlety that keeps with the plot's content. I particularly loved his use of rain as a motif. It became very emblematic of the dark surroundings within the world of the film and was a great use of pathetic fallacy.
The story itself is an interesting one. Everything about the synopsis screams action, however Road to Perdition is far from that. Whereas running away and revenge are important aspects of this film, the main focus is the relationship between the father and son, and Michael's progression into becoming the echoes of what a good father should be. This allows us as the audience to get emotionally involved on a much deeper level. I think this level of emotion is an important one to have as otherwise the slow pace of the film would get the better of you.
The acting in this is superb from all parts. I don't think it's possible for Tom Hanks to give an unbelievable performance. He was cold and callous at the start but started to radiate some warmth through as the plot progresses. He really is a mark of some of the greatness modern day Hollywood can produce. Paul Newman was outstanding, as was Daniel Craig. I loved how he managed to generate distrust from the introduction of his character, Connor. There was something very subtle written across his face that beautifully sold us his mindset. However, it was the performance of Jude Law as Harlen Mcguire, which I was taken to more. His character is in very little compared to the other leading names, but I was so impressed with how creepy and disgustingly callous Jude Law could be. Anyone who has seen Law's performance in this can't deny that this is deserved praise.
Mendes's film would not have worked without a Thomas Newman score by its side. He is a simply fantastic composer and his score to this is amazing. In a short few seconds, Newman captures every feeling that is present on screen. He allows us to feel the sorrow in a gentle way that keeps the docile movement of the film in tact. (SLIGHT SPOLIER)His main theme to this film comes into play towards the end of the film when Mike takes revenge on Rooney and his gang. This whole scene is the mark of truly talented people. The complete use of non-diegtic sound and the absence of any other during the gunfire really regurgitates the emotion inside of you in an involuntary surge of awe. It makes you physically feel the atmosphere and become totally engaged in the scene.
I have given this the rating I have because although it was visually amazing, heart-wrenching and had one of the best scenes I have seen for a long time, it didn't generate as much enjoyment as I thought it would. It is definitely something I would watch again but not something I am in a hurry to run out and buy. I think the slowness of this is a benefiting factor of that, which although completely works with regards to this film, is not something I personally can fully engage and immerse myself into for 2hours.
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