User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 193 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 193
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  1. chw
    Sep 5, 2014
    10
    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 is amazing that Skyfall didn't top it).
  2. Jan 20, 2013
    9
    Beautifully shot; I love the way the images almost match the cells in the graphic novel on which it
  3. Dec 13, 2011
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A very underrated film. Tom Hanks was the perfect actor for the role. It was a little hard taking him seriously after Forrest Gump. Anyway, the acting was excellent by Jude Law, Paul Newman, Daniel Craig and the rest of them. Great cast too. And because the acting is good so is the directing. My favorite scene was when Tom Hanks took out Paul Newman. Very emotional, especially with the silence. This film also tests your morals and values. Making you think, if you have a farther like Michael Sullivan, is he a good man? Your response might be, "well, he was my farther". Which is not the response I would give. A murderer is a murderer no matter who he is to you. In conclusion, Michael Sullivan was not a good man, no matter how much money he gives to the elderly. Although the message is not a responsible one it doesn't affect the rating of the movie. I didn't forget about the cinematography. The film was very well filmed. Loved the lightning. it gives it a more classic feel to the astonishing master piece. There's also something at the end that I wasn't expecting. If you haven't seen this film, go see it know. If you love great films you won't be disappointed. Expand
  4. Jul 8, 2014
    8
    Overall, this one is quite good. The acting, as expected from a cast of this kind of talent (Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Daniel Craig, AND Stanley Tucci?!) is awesome. I was kind of worried about Hanks playing an against type character, but he did so very well and really stood out. In addition, the cinematography is breathtaking at almost every turn. Each image is beautifully craftedOverall, this one is quite good. The acting, as expected from a cast of this kind of talent (Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Daniel Craig, AND Stanley Tucci?!) is awesome. I was kind of worried about Hanks playing an against type character, but he did so very well and really stood out. In addition, the cinematography is breathtaking at almost every turn. Each image is beautifully crafted and not enough praise can be given to it. Road to Perdition is a definite slow burner, but never fails to completely grip you and really pays off at the end with a very touching, tragic, and moving, ending. For the most part, this one really rises above what you would expect from a typical gangster film and really finds a way to make all of these people seem entirely human. In addition, in a short period of time, all of the characters are well crafted, in large part thanks to a great script. Now, is this a great film? No, but it is certainly a damn good one that lives up to the hype for me. Expand
  5. Nov 28, 2012
    10
    Once again, Sam Mendes manages to successfully craft a truly powerful drama with "Road To Perdition". The movie cohesively blends together very deep and moving themes that explore the repercussions of violence, the relationships between fathers and sons, and the path to vengeance. With incredible performances from Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, an awesome soundtrack by Thomas Newman, andOnce again, Sam Mendes manages to successfully craft a truly powerful drama with "Road To Perdition". The movie cohesively blends together very deep and moving themes that explore the repercussions of violence, the relationships between fathers and sons, and the path to vengeance. With incredible performances from Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, an awesome soundtrack by Thomas Newman, and stunning camerawork by Conrad L. Hall, "Road To Perdition" remains, in short, superlative. Expand
  6. Apr 13, 2013
    10
    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 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 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. Expand
  7. Dec 9, 2013
    9
    It was a absolutely stunning movie.They gave a great effort in every scene.They used the perfect proposition in the movie.The sequence.I liked the acting.Such a interesting movie.
  8. Aug 1, 2013
    8
    As the rain falls heavily during pivotal points of Road To Perdition, the realisation that the thematic use of water represents what the film pertains to be, a cold-hearted and merciless journey, but while the film is visually beautiful from the sincere art of cinematographer Conrad Hall, it always feels like it is turning the other way and won't let anybody in, with most of its mainAs the rain falls heavily during pivotal points of Road To Perdition, the realisation that the thematic use of water represents what the film pertains to be, a cold-hearted and merciless journey, but while the film is visually beautiful from the sincere art of cinematographer Conrad Hall, it always feels like it is turning the other way and won't let anybody in, with most of its main characters lacking emotional clarity towards their goal, perhaps this is a deliberate attempt to push the purpose and ideals of the Rock Island-based mob in depression era America, the setting of the film.
    We are introduced to quite a unique and quieter role for Tom Hanks as he plays Mike Sullivan, a hitman for the mentioned mob, lead by the man who raised him as his own, Peter Rooney (Paul Newman). The film plays out after the hot-headed son of Rooney, Conor (Daniel Craig), who becomes to trigger happy and ends up creating some tragic moments in the film, and in very little time.
    Mike must protect the remainder of his family, which involves running from his boss and the man who raised him. While the film deals with issues that where common ground in its era, it's main focus is that of the relationship between father and son, but although this should serve as the emotional standing point of the film, the plot lacks the proper pacing to have the viewer get emotionally engaged, we go from one scene to the next at such quickened pace that we barely have time to bathe in the excellence.
    The performances are truly encapsulating, from Hanks to Newman and also the man on the other side, played by Jude Law, who brings an eery and commanding personality to his hitman character.
    But the best moments consist of the cinematography which cannot be criticised at all, the whole tone of the film can be told through the lighting, the weather and the moments of despair as the rain pounds down upon our characters.
    The film just moves a bit too quickly, with not enough time spent on the development of relationships within the film, and while some one on one conversations create some emotional moments, there is still a lacking in overall growth.
    If the plot isn't enough to go see the film, it should be the wonderful filming that draws you in.
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  9. Mar 24, 2012
    8
    It is so good-intentioned, well-shot, and well-acted that it is hard to say anything bad about it even when matched up against a predacessor like American Beauty.
  10. Nov 12, 2013
    8
    A deep sorrowful cinematic treasure.
    Road to Perdition depicts the conflict of a father and son who's family is ripped apart by gang violence, Tom Hanks engulfs his audience with this realistic crime drama.
  11. Feb 24, 2014
    9
    While not as strong as American Beauty, Sam Mendes' Road to Perdition still succeeds thanks to strong performances by both Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, the breathtaking cinematography, and it's father-son themes.
  12. Jul 21, 2013
    5
    Beautifully shot, well-acted and dull. This is a movie that is so in awe of itself that it appears to be staring at it stunned, like a deer in the headlights.
  13. May 6, 2014
    7
    When Road To Perdition hit theaters, it was critically acclaimed and was eventually nominated for six Academy Awards. While it was a great film, it was very dark and fails to deliver the emotional impact that it intended to have on it's audience. In the 1930s, Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is a family man living in the suburban mid-west. By all accounts, he is a normal man, who is hidingWhen Road To Perdition hit theaters, it was critically acclaimed and was eventually nominated for six Academy Awards. While it was a great film, it was very dark and fails to deliver the emotional impact that it intended to have on it's audience. In the 1930s, Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is a family man living in the suburban mid-west. By all accounts, he is a normal man, who is hiding one very dark secret, he is a hit-man for an organized crime syndicate. His secret is safe and life continues on as usual until one day, his son, Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin), witnesses his father execute someone. Sullivan assures his bosses that everything is fine and his son won't say anything, but when has the mob ever taken that chance? Sullivan and his family are targeted for elimination and only he and his son manage to escape to Chicago, where he plans his revenge. As with most films based on a novel, the story here is top notch and very well written. Tom Hanks is the premier actor of our time, a man who will be remembered for centuries, but was he really the right choice to play Michael Sullivan? Hanks has many amazing skills as an actor, but playing such a cold, sedentary character, Hanks is unable to use his many tools and gives a performance that is very dry. The audience simply doesn't relate to Sullivan the way they relate to his son, and that brings the emotional impact of the film way below what it was intended to be. Tyler Hoechlin is fairly well known now, but when he got this role, it was his first, and he beat out over 10,000 other kids to get it. I don't know who any of those other kids were, but Hoechlin couldn't have had much competition, because he was out of this world good. It's a shame that the Academy rarely recognizes kids and that Paul Newman got the Best Supporting Actor nod over Hoechlin, because this kid is really the only one who comes off in a way that the writers originally intended. Road To Perdition was a tremendous story and was full of award winning actors, but the star power was more important to the producers, then finding actors who fit the characters as they were written. Aside from that and a painfully predictable ending, that you have to see coming, this was a pretty good film. I loved the setting and how dark it was, as well as the originality of a film that takes places nearly 60 years ago. I just find it ironic that in a cast full of Academy Award winning actors, it's a kid who steals the show. Expand
  14. Apr 19, 2015
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The year is 1931, and dapper immigrant mobsters are running an icy America with big guns and deadly honour codes. You know, the stuff of cinematic pearls since time immemorial, and the canvas on which Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner painted their graphic novel (posh comic book).

    It's this emotional exploration of the gangster myth that Yank-fixated Brit Sam Mendes was drawn to after his blistering debut, 'American Beauty'. 'Perdition' translates as 'damnation', and with wry whimsy is also the name of the elusive Midwest town planned as sanctuary for enforcer Michael Sullivan's young son, desperate to find love in his cold-blooded father.

    This is a moody, pristine study of paternal woe, localised to an Illinois chapter of the mob run by Newman's ageing patriarch, a man tormented by a trigger-happy dolt of an heir, Connor (Craig, slimeballing with relish). His is the devilry that rips apart Sullivan's life, sending echoes up to Chicago, in the form of a slick Stanley Tucci as real-life Capone general, Frank Nitti. Gangsters are the ultimate dysfunctional family.

    Chastely violent and sombre, the movie is a blood-rush of visual magnificence (take a bow, cinematographer Conrad L. Hall). However, it's at times weighed down by its own gravity, and perhaps too eager to touch its forelock to Mendes' forebears, Scorsese and Coppola, not to mention John Ford's scope and Michael Powell's lushness.

    Comparisons with 'The Godfather', 'The Untouchables' and 'Miller's Crossing' will fly, but the true reference point here is 'Unforgiven'. Sullivan's journey into a hell of his own making is pure William Munney. It falls short of Eastwood's classic, but not by very much.

    Mendes conducts with a grace the material can't quite handle, and we do not hear clearly the earnest notes of the designated quest for salvation. Look, it's Hanks and Newman together! As crooks! Worry not, though, we've still got Jude Law as the real scumbag, a Weegee-styled hit man with stained molars and a porkpie hat, who shoots his victims with both gun and camera.

    Hanks - hunkered down in a heavy skin with a threadbare moustache and the rigid posture of moral deep-freeze - works hard not to force things. Neither hero nor anti-hero, for the audience it proves too taxing to shake the notion that this is Forrest Gump doing his best Clint Eastwood. Amoral? Ambiguous? Evil? Too big a leap.

    Newman, meanwhile, is electrifying. Coating Rooney in dead eyes and a soft smile, his conflation of the jovial grandfather with flints of absolute darkness is a performance that chimes with (and betters) Brandon's Don Corleone. His is the crowning speech, power's inevitable corruption writ heavy across his soul: 'This is the life we chose... And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see heaven'.

    When he and Sullivan finally cross swords, Mendes pulls out a moment of transcendent cinema: a speechless sequence washed in the film's signature downpour, lit to throw Tommy guns and fedoras into stark silhouettes - you watch agape as simple celluloid transforms into poetry. Mendes has the eye, if not yet the ear, to be amongst the greats he honours so much. The luxury is that this is only film two.

    Verdict
    This is supremely crafted, grown-up moviemaking that never escapes its pulp origins. The themes are well worn and the structure predictable, but these are gangster cliches as gift-wrapped by Fortnum & Mason, and the grandeur of the film slips down like fine caviar.
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  15. Apr 19, 2015
    10
    Following a messy murder, hit man Michael Sullivan is betrayed by the man he called father, formidable Irish hood John Rooney. Leaving behind a murdered family and with a killer on his tail, Sullivan goes on the run, hungry for revenge.

    Chastely violent and sombre, the movie is a blood-rush of visual magnificence (take a bow, cinematographer Conrad L. Hall). However, it's at times
    Following a messy murder, hit man Michael Sullivan is betrayed by the man he called father, formidable Irish hood John Rooney. Leaving behind a murdered family and with a killer on his tail, Sullivan goes on the run, hungry for revenge.

    Chastely violent and sombre, the movie is a blood-rush of visual magnificence (take a bow, cinematographer Conrad L. Hall). However, it's at times weighed down by its own gravity, and perhaps too eager to touch its forelock to Mendes' forebears, Scorsese and Coppola, not to mention John Ford's scope and Michael Powell's lushness.

    This is supremely crafted, grown-up moviemaking that never escapes its pulp origins. The themes are well worn and the structure predictable, but these are gangster cliches as gift-wrapped by Fortnum & Mason, and the grandeur of the film slips down like fine caviar.

    One of the best soundtracks and films ever made!
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  16. Apr 21, 2015
    10
    Following a messy murder, hit man Michael Sullivan is betrayed by the man he called father, formidable Irish hood John Rooney. Leaving behind a murdered family and with a killer on his tail, Sullivan goes on the run, hungry for revenge.

    EARLY in "Road to Perdition," a period gangster film that achieves the grandeur of a classic Hollywood western, John Rooney (Paul Newman), the crusty
    Following a messy murder, hit man Michael Sullivan is betrayed by the man he called father, formidable Irish hood John Rooney. Leaving behind a murdered family and with a killer on his tail, Sullivan goes on the run, hungry for revenge.

    EARLY in "Road to Perdition," a period gangster film that achieves the grandeur of a classic Hollywood western, John Rooney (Paul Newman), the crusty old Irish mob boss in a town somewhere outside Chicago, growls a lament that echoes through the movie like a subterranean rumble: "Sons are put on the earth to trouble their fathers."

    n surveying the world through Michael Jr.'s eyes, the movie captures, like no film I've seen, the fear-tinged awe with which young boys regard their fathers and the degree to which that awe continues to reverberate into adult life. Viewed through his son's eyes, Sullivan, whose face is half-shadowed much of the time by the brim of his fedora, is a largely silent deity, the benign but fearsome source of all knowledge and wisdom. An unsmiling Mr. Hanks does a powerful job of conveying the conflicting emotions roiling beneath Sullivan's grimly purposeful exterior as he tries to save his son and himself from mob execution. It's all done with facial muscles.

    In the flashiest of many visually indelible moments, a cluster of gangsters silhouetted in a heavy rain are systemically mowed down on a Chicago street in a volley of machine-gun flashes that seem to erupt out of nowhere from an unseen assassin. But no shots or voices are heard. The eerie silence is filled by the solemn swell of Mr. Newman's score. It is one of many scenes of violence in which the camera maintains a discreet aesthetic distance from the carnage.

    Road to Perdition is a true tour de force! A remarkable film!
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  17. Apr 25, 2015
    10
    Over the course of his illustrious career, which is well into its third decade, Hanks has played a cross-dresser, a man infatuated by a mermaid, the manager of a women's baseball team, a child in an oversized body, an idiot savant, an AIDS patient, and a man stranded on a desert island. However, during more than four-dozen TV shows and movies, he has yet to challenge himself with the mostOver the course of his illustrious career, which is well into its third decade, Hanks has played a cross-dresser, a man infatuated by a mermaid, the manager of a women's baseball team, a child in an oversized body, an idiot savant, an AIDS patient, and a man stranded on a desert island. However, during more than four-dozen TV shows and movies, he has yet to challenge himself with the most difficult role for a well-liked actor - that of a bad-to-the-bone villain. He comes close in Road to Perdition, but doesn't quite reach that destination. For, although Michael Sullivan is a murderer for hire, he also has a conscience and a soul, loves his family, and kills not because he likes it but because it's his job. In short, Sullivan is portrayed sympathetically. The script's positive spin and Hanks' instant likeability ensure that Sullivan will be viewed not as a bad guy, but as a flawed man. There's some darkness there, to be sure, but not the pitch black of pure evil.

    The film, director Sam Mendes' eagerly anticipated follow-up to American Beauty, is based on the "graphic novel" (a term that is applied to a very long comic book printed on high-quality paper and sold in bookstores) by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner. As with many adaptations from this medium, Road to Perdition stuns with its atmosphere and visuals, but arguably underachieves in some aspects of its characterization and plotting.

    Road to Perdition allows you to feel, smell, and breathe the air of 1930s Chicago. To some extent, Conrad L. Hall is as big a star as any of the actors, since there are occasions when the setting overwhelms the characters. At its heart, Road to Perdition is a little drama about fathers, sons, and the covenants they make and break. Rooney betrays Sullivan to save Connor, even though, to the very end, he loves Sullivan best. Sullivan risks everything, including his life and reputation, to protect Michael. A telling conversation between Rooney and Sullivan italicizes this point. "And there is only one guarantee--none of us will see Heaven," says Rooney. "Michael might," replies Sullivan. Rooney then notes that it's Sullivan's primary duty to make sure that happens.

    Road to Perdition 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). As was the case in American Beauty, Mendes illustrates how accomplished actors will respond to an assured director. Serious movie-goers embarking upon this journey will find that Road to Perdition leads to a satisfying destination.
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Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 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.
  2. 100
    Overflowing with melancholy and tragedy, Road to Perdition is one of the most somber gangster pictures ever made.
  3. 50
    On screen, Road to Perdition becomes a lace-curtain shoot-'em-up about fathers and sons. The graphic novel is more kinetic and more powerful than the motion picture.