Rambling About Road To Perdition (2002)

Nutshell Ramble

Tom Hanks in a role he has never quite done before. Heavy themes and expert direction make for a good if not great watch.



Full Ramble

Road to Perdition is a 2002 crime-drama film directed by Sam Mendes, written by David Self and stars Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law and Daniel Craig. The film attempts to explore the consequences of living a life of crime, the emotional depth between fathers and sons along with a self contained survival story in itself.

The clear winner throughout the whole film is the directing. Sam Mendes applies himself throughout the film and the result is there for all to see. The lighting choices, the accuracy of the setting, the performances he draws out of his actors, the camerawork and the effective use of silence/visual storytelling all add to the overall quality of the film.

The performances by the top tier cast is good as one might expect. The material they have been to work with is dense and has multiple layers to chew into. The down/non-action character moments with the lead characters are very well done. The relationships they share with each other are well defined even if the movie keeps the audience at a distance and lets them only look in rather than making them a part of the story in itself

The knocks on the movie are minor. The detached storytelling may be the biggest problem of all. When compared to a film like Eastern Promises, the relationship between the primary characters seems a bit under baked. But these problems are more than made up for by the mood, the tone, the score and the direction. The film’s sound choices are very refreshing and a viewer with a sharp ear might catch on to a lot of it.

The biggest theme of the film is the one of fathers and sons. A theme which has captivated me personally from a very long time. The impact a father/father figure might have on an impressionable young man and how the young man might build his life taking those experiences into account form the deepest core of the film. The impact a role model has on a person in general is something people have to tried to think about for the longest time. It is one of the prime contributors to the nature vs nurture debate. The film throws in its two-cents on the matter and the message does not come off half-assed.

It makes for a great hour and fifty minutes when one realizes that this is not a typical Tom Hanks affair. He is not Amerca’s Sweetheart here and in all honesty no one is. Not Forest Gump or Cool Hand Luke or James Bond, all three men are characters whose life choices leave their lives on a crash course to Perdition (if one knows what the means). Watching their journey is riveting, heart breaking and eye opening in equal measure.




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