Road to Perdition

Road to Perdition Image
Metascore
72

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

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8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 312 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: 53 out of 74
  2. Negative: 8 out of 74
  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. Collapse
  2. Dec 11, 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.

    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."

    In 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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  3. 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 aOver 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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  4. 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
  5. 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 PaulWhile 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. 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 74 User Reviews

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