1931. Mike Sullivan and Connor Rooney are two henchmen of elderly Chicago-based Irish-American mobster John Rooney, Connor's father. In many respects, John treats Mike more as his son, who he raised as his own after Mike was orphaned, than the volatile Connor, who nonetheless sees himself as the heir apparent to the family business. One evening, Mike's eldest son, twelve year old Michael Sullivan Jr., who has no idea what his father does for a living, witnesses Connor and his father gun down an associate and his men, the situation gone wrong initiated from an action by Connor. Caught witnessing the incident, Michael is sworn to secrecy about what he saw. Regardless, Connor, not wanting any loose ends, makes an attempt to kill Mike, his wife and their two sons. Mike and the surviving members of his family know that they need to go on the run as Connor, who has gone into hiding, will be protected through mob loyalty, especially by John, who cannot turn on his own flesh and blood. Still,... Written by
The music playing in the background during the diner scene is "Queer Notions", which was recorded in 1933. See more »
Michael Sullivan, Jr.:
There are many stories about Michael Sullivan. Some say he was a decent man. Some say there was no good in him at all. But I once spent 6 weeks on the road with him, in the winter of 1931. This is our story.
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Thanks to all at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, London See more »
Let me start this off by saying this movie is beautiful. By a technical standpoint, perfection was achieved. I'll remember this movie as proof of example; outstanding direction/cinematography cannot fully compensate for a lackluster plot.
On paper, the plot is an average set up. Relationships in a crime family are tested, but none are ever stretched too far. In this sense it feels somewhat familiar and not very original.
But what does keep this movie from being average-blah, is the care put into EVERY shot. I give a huge amount of credit to the cinematographer. A good amount of noticeable techniques were used. I particularly liked one symmetrical pillar shot that used a zoom in dolly in trick. A slight variation of the Vertigo introduced, zoom in dolly out.
But with all of these wonderful shots I noticed something. There was so much technically stunning camera work, I found myself completely drawn out of the story. Was this done intentionally? To some degree I think so. This nicely compliments the dark and rainy 1930's settings.
Noticing this I tried to put more thought into the plot. There basically was none. The characters were cold and lacked development. Any dialog is important and used sparingly. I couldn't stop myself from drawing comparison to The Godfather. What Road to Perdition lacks is any underlying intensity between the characters. I never feel like they were a tight-knit family and do feel as if I'm simply watching characters play their parts. The story has no poetry and feels more like a collection of parts that aren't worth its sum.
I appreciate it in its stunning visuals, but once the credit rolled I felt nothing. And I find no reason to return back to it.
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