On the list of adjectives one might use to describe Tom Hanks, “badass” is probably way down on the list. However, Hanks manages to portray one quite convincingly here in mob enforcer Tom Sullivan.
This was Sam Mendes’ first movie after his critical darling American Beauty. It is a visually captivating film, both in the set stylings as well as the way Mendes captures movement. I totally forgot that Daniel Craig was in this film as the bad guy who sets the events of this movie together.
Mendes and Craig would reunite a decade later for the best Bond movie of modern times in Skyfall. Here though Craig plays a low down scoundrel, the son of Irish mob boss John Rooney, Paul Newman in his final on screen role. Jude Law plays a creepy assassin.
Cast wise this movie is full of all star ammunition. Child actor Tyler Hoechlin plays Hanks’ son who survives an attempted assassination that results in the death of the rest of his family save him and his father.
When Sullivan figures out what happens he begins a road trip of retribution knocking off mob banks and bars all over the state, taking his young son along with him, who serves as the principal narrator of the film.
This movie gets overlooked on a lot of top gangster movie lists, and I think that is because the style here is very slow and deliberate, and the whole thing plays out like a surrealist greek tragedy instead of the Scorsese style manic romp set to 1960’s pop music that a lot of other modern gangster flicks turn out to be.
Even compared to a TV show like Boardwalk Empire set in the same era, this movie feels like it is in another universe completely. That said, as both a stylistic exercise and a good old fashioned gangster epic, I found it to be very intriguing.
Road to Perdition gets a four out of five: GREAT.