1931. Mike Sullivan and Connor Rooney are two henchmen of elderly downstate IL-based (Quad City area, though much of the action takes place in the Chicago area) 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 ... Written by
(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 »
I loved so much about this movie...the time taken to develop the characters, the attention to detail, the superb performances, the stunning lighting and cinematography, the wonderful soundtrack...
It has a combined intensity and lightness of touch that won't work for anyone who wants the typical fast-paced action flick. If we lived in Elizabethan days, I'd say this movie's a bit like a Shakespearean tragedy. But since we don't, let's say it's more like a Drama-Suspense movie.
The plot is simple, but the story is complex. The movie is intelligent in the way relationships and issues are explored. Much of the story is shown rather than told, which I find makes it more subtle and moving - and which also works well for a story based on a comic book (or graphic novel). At times I felt I was actually there in the 1930s, part of this story - there was such a realistic yet dream-like quality in the style of its telling.
I don't often prefer movies to the books they were based upon, but in this case I do. (Though I did enjoy the book too.) I've bought the DVD, which is great because it has some wonderful deleted scenes and insightful commentary.
(I also took my little cousin, who's a little younger than the boy in the movie, to see it after I saw it for the first time, because he has issues at home and I wanted to use this as a way of starting a discussion on father-son issues with him. He loved it - and the discussion.)
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