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72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 173 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A portrayal of two families whose fates are determined by the complex and often combative relationships between fathers and their sons. (DreamWorks Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 100
    Overflowing with melancholy and tragedy, Road to Perdition is one of the most somber gangster pictures ever made.
  2. A truly majestic visual tone poem.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. There's something impressive and yet lacking about everything.
  7. 40
    Like a date who's primped too long to arrive at dinner with something to talk about, Road to Perdition is beautifully groomed and a perfect drag to be with.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 71
  2. Negative: 8 out of 71
  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 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). Expand
  2. 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.
    Expand
  3. Nov 28, 2012
    10
    Once again, Sam Mendes manages to successfully craft a truly powerful drama with "Road To Perdition". The movie cohesively blends togetherOnce 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
  4. JeanC.
    Aug 11, 2006
    9
    A brilliant film, actors are very good. A very simple movie, but very stylised also. It's realy a great film.
  5. Dec 13, 2011
    9
    This review contains spoilers. 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. Collapse
  6. 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
    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.
    Expand
  7. BillC.
    Oct 11, 2005
    3
    This film should have been better and it could have been.The Jude Law charactor is a waste,the screen writer should have stayed closer to the This film should have been better and it could have been.The Jude Law charactor is a waste,the screen writer should have stayed closer to the novel.Hanks and Newman were both up to the task and their talents were largely wasted.Read the novel,it's a much better story. It's a good example of someone pushing the art of film making while botching the story within the film.Bill C. Expand

See all 71 User Reviews

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