Road to Perdition (2002) – 4/5

Depressing, but beautifully shot film with kind of a kooky plot that mostly works despite feeling thin and hackneyed at times. And Tom Hanks is far too nice of a guy to be completely believable in the role, despite being pretty darn good here. Rarely does a movie’s theme stand out so prominently, though, it feeling almost like a lead character at times its presence so strong. And it’s this theme, that of the inevitability of death, that makes the film so gosh dang depressing. That and the oppressive visuals and grim story.

The story is somewhat choppy at times; the beginning is kind of slow, and the main incident that triggers everything seemed a bit weak, especially given what a dimwit Daniel Craig’s character is compared to that of Hanks’. Surely Paul Newman would have had better sense than to allow something like that to happen to one of his most valued employees.

And Jude Law’s character, though creepy and menacing, feels more like an evil “boss” character Hanks has to defeat than an actual flesh and blood person. His whole personality is exaggerated to the point where it just doesn’t fit very well with the film’s otherwise realistic tone. Law does an extremely good job with the character, though, giving probably one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from him ever. Sam Mendes really knows how to milk good performances out of his actors, it seems.

Overall, I liked this film. It wasn’t great, but it’s a well crafted, well acted film that’s a bit slow and depressing at times, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sure, the story and overall pace of the film is choppy, and the film loses itself at times near the end with Hanks’ crazy scheme to get Al Capone’s attention, but it’s forgivable. Decent film. Worth watching.

  1. Good points. I think the ‘feel’ of this film, and the ending are the best.

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