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
According to author Max Allan Collins, the "Road to Perdition" graphic novel was an American homage to the Manga series "Lone Wolf and Cub" by Kazuo Koike. Collins quotes Koike at the beginning of the book: "You must choose a road for yourself". See more »
(at around 1h 4 mins) In the diner scene, a bottle of HP Sauce is on Sullivan's table. HP Sauce is available almost exclusively in the United Kingdom; it wouldn't have been in an average American roadside diner in 1931. Director Sam Mendes used to be the artistic director at the Donmar Warehouse in London and developed a fondness for HP Sauce. He deliberately had that bottle placed there. 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 »
ROAD TO PERDITION can be summed up by Thomas Newman's score . It's haunting and beautiful but you're aware that this music is similar to Newman's other work and while listening to the soundtrack you're reminded of SCENT OF A WOMAN , MEETING JOE BLACK and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION you're reminded of other films as the story unfolds on screen . As the Sullivans drive round America trying to escape from a psychotic hit man you think of THE GETAWAY , Irish gangsters is MILLER'S CROSSING whilst the subtext of guilt and redemption can be summed up by Coppola and Leone's gangster epics. Despite having a seen it all before feel this shouldn't be taken as a heavy criticism of Sam Mendes film which I repeat is haunting and beautiful and the only flaws that work against it is a very slow opening twenty minutes and I was slightly confused as the events that caused Michael Sullivan to be betrayed . But if you stop to consider how much of a sentimental mess Spielberg might have made with the story that revolves around a father and his twelve year old son running for their lives you can't help thinking what a superb director Mendes is
ROAD TO PERDITION is a film where the entire cast give flawless performances . I've never been all that keen on Tom Hanks but he's every bit as good here as he has been in any starring role , probably better . Paul Newman plays a character with an Irish accent but at no point did I believe I was watching an American screen legend putting on a false accent - Newman's performance works due to the subtle body language , his character is torn up by guilt but Newman never milks it or goes over the top . While never upstaging Newman who gives the best performance in the movie the two Brit supporting actors Craig and Law are also very memorable as American gangsters and while Law will still have a long career as a leading actor one wonders how Daniel Craig might have progressed as a character actor if he hadn't decided to become James Bond , a role which heralds the end of an actors career
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