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ROAD TO PERDITION

Gangsters of The Great Depression betray and murder one another, Chicago-style.


CAST: Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Tyler Hoechlin, Jude Law, Daniel Craig, Stanley Tucci, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Dylan Baker, Ciarn Hinds, Liam Aiken, Doug Spinuzza, Diane Dorsey, Peggy Roeder, James Greene

DIRECTOR: Sam Mendes

 

"... a period gangster film that achieves the grandeur of a classic Hollywood western...a truly majestic visual tone poem...'Road to Perdition' ponders some of the same questions as 'The Sopranos,' a comparably great work of popular art, whose protagonist is also a gangster and a devoted family man. But far from a self-pitying boor lumbering around a suburban basement in his undershirt, Mr. Hanks's antihero is a stern, taciturn killer who projects a tortured nobility...Mr. Newman's Rooney, with his ferocious hawklike glare, sepulchral rasp and thunderous temper, has the ultimate power to bestow praise and shame, to bless and to curse. The role, for which the 77-year-old actor adopts a softened Irish brogue, is one of Mr. Newman's most farsighted, anguished performances." --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"...self-conscious to the point of suffocation...much of the time the technique is so studied it keeps you outside the story, like a frame that overpowers the painting it's supposed to display...Hanks delivers a subtle, brooding performance, but one that could have used a touch more of the ferocity and anger he showed in 'Punchline'... Newman makes an elegant elderly crime lord, utterly steely under his paternal Irish bluster. Law's almost Kabuki-like performance is striking in its quirky theatricality...Craig, the least familiar face, makes a strong, scary impression as the detestable Connor. But the movie's airless, overdetermined style doesn't allow them the spark of spontaneity...The harder 'Road to Perdition' strives to be Important, the less it has anything interesting to say." --David Ansen, Newsweek

"... a solemnly beautiful art concept--perhaps the most thoroughly stylized gangster picture since the Coen brothers' 'Miller's Crossing'...Hall's palette is muted and precise, the action sudden, swift, and bloody. Visually, the movie is all of a piece, and consistently impressive, and I enjoyed some of it very much. But...this is a stilted, self-conscious piece of work--a case of dark-toned academic classicism. There isn't a joke or a touch of wit anywhere in the movie...For all the beauty and power of 'Road to Perdition,' there's not much spontaneity in it, and the movie's flawless surface puts a stranglehold on meaning." --David Denby, The New Yorker

"With 'Road to Perdition,' Mendes gives the gangster genre an overweening significance that, for the most part, it can't support. The pulp shows clearly through the high-art preening: It isn't prominent enough to be fun, and the art, with few exceptions, isn't high enough to justify all the moody-blues meaningfulness...In the scenes between Hanks and Newman, we get glimpses of greatness... When their mutual fate is clear, there's an almost sensual abandon in the way they give themselves up to it. Hanks and Newman are so finely attuned to each other's mood that their dialogue seems like an encumbrance. We don't need words--we have their eyes...Powerful as Hanks is in the part, he is still required to play a man who, though a killer, is a rather nice one...The reason 'Road to Perdition' unrolls so smoothly and finishes so neatly is because Mendes doesn't give darkness its due...Perdition has rarely looked so rosy." --Peter Rainer, New York

"A flawed exploration of America's flirtation with lawlessness and its love of guns, 'Road to Perdition' falls short of such classics as 'The Godfather,' 'Miller's Crossing' and 'Prizzi's Honor.' Still, it packs a visceral and intellectual punch, offers an awesome display of cinematic technique, and provides us with the opportunity to see superstars Newman and Hanks at the top of their serious-acting form. They're terrific together, even when they're killing each other." --Guy Flatley, Moviecrazed

"...a rare and exemplary work of artistry and humanity that makes you think while it unfolds like the haunting pages of a novel you never want to end. Hands down, it's the best film of the summer, and already a contender for both the Oscars and my year-end 10 Best List...Let's face it: Nothing on the screen can take the place of great story-telling. The ability to tell a fascinating story coherently, truthfully and entertainingly while engaging the emotions and stimulating the mind is the essential element that separates the big films of history from the majority of the wormy, pointless, creatively bankrupt junk we've been getting lately. 'Road to Perdition' honors the tradition wisely. It's a thoughtful and responsible film, at a time when we need one badly." --
Rex Reed, The New York Observer


"Weep for the Sullivans in this sumptuous and predigested, top-quality and overdetermined, serious and easy-reader movie, Mendes encourages, but do not despair for them because--as in Mendes' manufactured crowd-pleaser, 'American Beauty'--it's always darkest just before the catharsis...there's much that's simplistically grand, worthy, and fine in 'Perdition.' If I yearn for less measured filmmaking that cries out with more reckless despair, it's because I think hell on earth is a meaner, much more interesting, and far less tidy cinematic place than Mendes trusts his audience to handle." --
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly