Road to Perdition

Road to Perdition Image
Metascore
72

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

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 323 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)

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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: 56 out of 77
  2. Negative: 8 out of 77
  1. 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 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
  2. Mar 23, 2016
    10
    Moody, methodical and measured, “Road to Perdition” takes a brooding look at the wages of sin and the heritage of violence among hoodlumsMoody, methodical and measured, “Road to Perdition” takes a brooding look at the wages of sin and the heritage of violence among hoodlums during the dark days of Prohibition. Predominantly concerned about the passing of nasty traditions from fathers to sons, and the strenuous effort of one killer to be redeemed through his boy, 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. Absorbing drama sees Tom Hanks fitting comfortably into the role of a morally aware bad guy, and while history has shown that one should never underestimate Hanks’ extraordinary B.O. draw, production’s autumnal feel and A-plus awards-season pedigree will make it fascinating to see if DreamWorks can pull off its gamble of putting this over as a summer attraction that can successfully duke it out with the more obvious popcorn pictures. Its seriousness notwithstanding, crime drama looks to play well with all audiences, although appeal to women could be somewhat limited.

    “Sons are put on this earth to trouble their fathers,” Illinois mob boss John Rooney (Paul Newman) confides to his top enforcer and surrogate son, Michael Sullivan (Hanks), a remark that has deep significance for both men and frames the concerns of the movie. Rooney, now an old man, has seen his biological son, Connor (Daniel Craig), go hopelessly astray into reckless (as opposed to “respectable”) criminality, while Sullivan still hopes he can somehow keep his two pre-teen boys from inheriting his bloody legacy, having kept the nature of his work a secret for as long as possible.

    It’s a potent theme, one that recalls not only “The Godfather,” with which “Perdition” shares “family” concerns, a dark look and period detailing, but also such explosive father-son dramas as “East of Eden.” The connections to Coppola and Kazan are telling in the precision performances, resonant settings and perhaps above all in the unhurried pacing; while crisply edited and unindulgent, Mendes’ work is gratifyingly old-school in its rejection of modern-day stylistic agitation, the better to achieve a slow but inexorable build to its climax.

    At the 45-minute point, they hit Chicago, beautifully evoked on modern La Salle Street with a modest amount of digital erasures to convey 1931. Sullivan offers to go to work for Al Capone’s (real-life) right-hand man, Frank Nitti (Stanley Tucci), for whom he has done jobs in the past. But Nitti’s ties to the Rooneys prove more binding, resulting in the Italian’s recruitment of gimpy freelance hitman (and professional crime-scene photographer) Maguire (Jude Law) to do Sullivan in.

    Film’s second half, then, consists largely of a slow cat-and-mouse chase, with Maguire pursuing his prey across the flat Midwestern rural landscapes while Sullivan tries to stay one step ahead, break through to the son to whom he’s never been close and even get the upper hand on the Capone gang. The latter he achieves through the ingenious ruse of robbing small-town banks where the Chicagoans have deposited “dirty” money, a sequence of events wonderfully and concisely expressed in a fluid montage of lateral left-to-right tracking shots intermingled with Maguire calmly rolling a quarter through his filthy fingers.

    In one very fine scene, Maguire catches up to Sullivan in a lonely roadside diner, where they exchange some cryptic remarks before the inevitable fireworks. Significantly less satisfying is a crucial encounter Sullivan has with a mob accountant (Dylan Baker) who inexplicably is running around the boondocks with incriminating financial documents in hand. After Sullivan manages to exact the rain-soaked revenge he has so patiently sought, climax and coda fulfill the promise of fateful inevitability while providing the right measure of final dramatic release.

    Practically every effect in the movie has been calibrated to the nth degree, from the nuances of the family dynamics and the color coordination of the decor to more subtle details such as laying a coffin on ice to keep the body cold but also to link with the winter snow outside, to emphasize the frigid ossification of the mobsters’ lethal behavior patterns. But the picture is able to deflect charges of preciousness by putting narrative and character first; it’s suffused in a distinct sense of aestheticism, but not artiness.

    Thomas Newman’s inventive score, while appropriately serious toward the end, seems intent upon lightening the mood earlier on with some overly busy and cutesy orchestrations and melodic doodlings. Of all the film’s accomplished creative contributions, certainly the most notable is Conrad Hall’s extraordinary cinematography.

    A complete and utter masterpiece!
    Expand
  3. 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 behindFollowing 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!
    Expand
  4. 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 likedIt 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. Expand
  5. chw
    Sep 5, 2014
    9
    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
  6. 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,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 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
  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 77 User Reviews

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