Road to Perdition


Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Overflowing with melancholy and tragedy, Road to Perdition is one of the most somber gangster pictures ever made.
  2. New Times (L.A.)
    Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    This movie would be worth feting in any season. It's wrenching but never manipulative, stoic but never dull, exhausting but never wearying.
  3. 100
    Mendes, in only his second feature (following the Oscar-winning "American Beauty"), has told this surprisingly resonant story with the potent, unrelenting fatalism of a previously unknown Greek myth.
  4. 100
    Has the juice to get its hooks into you, knock you off balance and keep you that way for two hours. It's a triumph for director Sam Mendes. The passion and precision of his Road work is staggering.
  5. A truly majestic visual tone poem.
  6. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Sam Mendes' much-anticipated second effort after his Oscar-winning "American Beauty" finds him working in a very different key while displaying an even more pronounced attentiveness to tone, genre variations and artistic niceties.
  7. It's a genteel film with a gun in its pocket, but it's also a film with a universal chord of feeling that keeps welling up from the dark surfaces and violent byways of the plot-and a final confession that both warms the heart and chills the blood.
  8. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    It's a dark, brooding, moody film that follows a grim narrative to a logical inevitability and is nonetheless fully infused with a spirit of humanity.
  9. The movie misfires: It's numbingly cold and soulless, and the zeitgeist stays far beyond its reach. But it's so visually striking you almost don't notice, its relentlessly somber mood has a certain masochistic appeal and, while hardly a career-redefining performance, Hanks is as winning as ever.
  10. Results are classy entertainment with little to interest women viewers but very shrewdly and cleverly put together, and probably more rewarding in long-range terms if you invest in Fox or Dreamworks than if you actually see the movie.
  11. 80
    This dark, almost mythic heart is what makes the film such an emotionally rich experience.
  12. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Long and winding though it may be, Road to Perdition gets to places that are well worth the trip.
  13. Try as he might, (Hanks) is miscast in Road to Perdition, a partly satisfying gangster drama that amounts to less than the sum of its handsome parts.
  14. Paradoxically, the closer Mendes gets to his characters, the more remote Perdition becomes. One wishes that his film had as much heart as it does art.
  15. This is a remarkably good-looking near-corpse of a film, with a pulse that fades in and out.
  16. 75
    Romanticizes gangland Chicago, but no more so than other films set in the same period. And, like almost every movie about the mob, this one deals with themes of family, loyalty, and betrayal -- albeit without the intensity of some of the great ones ("The Godfather," "Goodfellas").
  17. 75
    Choice, a luxury of the Corleones, is denied to the Sullivans and Rooneys, and choice or its absence is the difference between Sophocles and Shakespeare. I prefer Shakespeare.
  18. Subdued yet percolating with suppressed emotion.
  19. 75
    Paved with such good intentions and talent that it's sad to report this lavishly mounted gangster epic - the most serious-minded Hollywood film of the season - doesn't come close to living up to expectations.
  20. New York Daily News
    Reviewed by: Jack Mathews
    Mendes -- wants to have it both ways, to get close to mob life, but be no part of it. And he keeps us at a dime-novel distance, too. He has made a dreamy, poetic impression of a world that exists only on film and in comic strips, and that has no resonance for most of us.
  21. There's much that's simplistically grand, worthy, and fine in Perdition. If I yearn for less measured filmmaking that cries out with more reckless despair, it's because I think hell on earth is a meaner, much more interesting, and far less tidy cinematic place than Mendes trusts his audience to handle.
  22. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Impressive yet always self-conscious, Perdition has more class and less sass than any movie in a while.
  23. 70
    I'm not sure Sam Mendes' latest is a masterpiece as so many critics are exclaiming but it is very probably the most artful and earnest drama ever adapted from a comic book.
  24. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: David Denby
    For all the beauty and power of Road to Perdition, there's not much spontaneity in it, and the movie's flawless surface puts a stranglehold on meaning. [15 July 2002. p. 90]
  25. In the scenes between Hanks and Newman, we get glimpses of greatness.
  26. 70
    Mendes' second effort plays like a familiar song transposed to a minor key, a gangland fable soaked in portent and fatalism until its familiarity ceases to be an issue.
  27. There's something impressive and yet lacking about everything.
  28. It's a dirty, ugly, joyless world these fathers and sons live in, and for all the passion involved, of retribution and a father's fierce love, Perdition is as emotionally distant as Sullivan. The feelings are all there, just submerged.
  29. 63
    Its seriousness is welcome. It's also a burden the film can't completely surmount.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 304 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 73
  2. Negative: 8 out of 73
  1. chw
    Sep 5, 2014
    I could not believe Road to Perdition was as good as it was. Sam Mendes' best movie, even better than American Beauty, and Skyfall (which isI could not believe Road to Perdition was as good as it was. Sam Mendes' best movie, even better than American Beauty, and Skyfall (which is amazing that Skyfall didn't top it). Full Review »
  2. Apr 13, 2013
    At first, I had never heard of this movie until just last year. And after watching it for the first time ever, I got to say, this wasAt first, I had never heard of this movie until just last year. And after watching it for the first time ever, I got to say, this was magnificently triumphant in everyway possible. I just don't understand why I had never heard of this movie before. This movie truly is underrated. Anyway, this movie has some tremendous acting from Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin, Paul Newman, etc. But I was really surprised to see Daniel Craig (James Bond). He was fantastic playing Connor Rooney. Plus, I never really say this about a movie, but it really has some tremendous cinematography. Conrad L. Hall really knows how to get the perfect shots. Also, the storyline is exciting and captivating. It really keeps you interesting. Finally I have to say that Thomas Newman's original score is breathtaking. I mean, he's done some amazing music for other movies such as "Shawshank Redemption", "Finding Nemo", "WALL-E" and even "Green Mile". He really knows how to set the tone of the story. Overall, it's a fantastic gangster movie that needs to be more well known. Full Review »
  3. Jan 20, 2013
    Beautifully shot; I love the way the images almost match the cells in the graphic novel on which it