Road to Perdition

Metascore
72

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

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 280 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: 52 out of 73
  2. Negative: 8 out of 73
  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. 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!
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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. 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
  5. Jan 20, 2013
    9
    Beautifully shot; I love the way the images almost match the cells in the graphic novel on which it
  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 73 User Reviews

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