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Road to Perdition (2002)
Clichéd, poorly acted mess of a film
I had heard a lot of good things about this film so was seriously disappointed. The plot was very clichéd and predictable all the way through. The final shootout scene was the most obviously predictable but many of the events leading up to it were also obvious. While too many of the characters actions made no sense whatsoever, particularly the actions and motivations of Paul Newmans character, John Rooney.
The acting was poor particularly from Daniel Craig whose accent varied from New York to posh English often within the same line. Even Tom Hanks underperformed in the lead role.
The variations in tone between serious and comedic were jarring and didn't fit with the film at all. And the film is plagued by the concept that to depict a dark tone or story just add torrential rain. Admittedly this concept is a problem in many films but this takes it to a new level.
The only positives in this film are some fine cinematography and the attention to detail in capturing the 1931 setting.
Potential, but ultimately disappointing
I found this film showy and way too self indulgent. The whole film is devoted to parodying itself, and acting, and theatre, and its cast and itself again. Yet it lacks the requisite humour. We get it, Keaton used to play Batman and is now washed up, and Norton is a method actor. Knowing this before hand, as would most cinema-goers does not make this parody particularly worthwhile.
The film takes a typical pot shot at theatre critics, and then attacks theatre for being bourgeois. Yet the film is filmed like a theatre play and it never escapes its stagey setting. Aside from Keaton and Norton, overacting at the centre, a variety of good actors are left on the sidelines in throwaway roles. Andrea Riseborough is particularly neglected and then cast aside for the majority of the film.
The middle of the film drags along as well before picking up at the end. But the finale is risible. The scriptwriters don't seem to have fully decided whether Keatons character is actually a birdman or just delusional so they go for both in a clichéd ending.
The film had potential, a great cast, some good cinematography, but ultimately it was a disappointment. Certainly shouldn't be the Oscar favourite all the critics seem to be raving about.