Movie Review: The Road to Perdition

With the passing of Hollywood heavyweight Paul Newman on Friday, I thought that it would a fitting tribute to review this forgotten masterpiece, today. Based on a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins, the movie stars academy award winners Tom Hanks and Newman. Jude Law also appears in the movie in a smaller role.

The Road to Perdition is the story of a hitman, Michael Sullivan (Hanks) who works for a crime boss, Rooney(Newman). He is trying hard to balance his work life, of carrying on assignments for his boss and his home life, of being a responsible father and husband.

The actions of Rooney's reckless son (Daniel Craig, of James Bond fame) would cause Sullivan to loose all, but one of the members of his immediate family. Sullivan is now faced with choosing between his loyalty to his boss, who has been like a father to him and his loyalty to his family, which would mean protecting his son, and seeking retribution for his dead wife and son.

Rooney, for his part, will do all he can to save his son, including hiring another bloodthirsty hitman (Jude Law) to kill Sullivan and his son.

Tom Hanks plays the quiet, unassuming but strong-willed Sullivan to perfection. Newman plays the polished, charming yet ruthless gangster Rooney, with grace and dignity, as he has done in most of his other roles.

Sam Menendes, who directed the movie has done a splendid job with the picturization and scenes of the movie. While there is a lot of violence, Menendes has expertly forced it into the background, as the drama between the lead characters takes center stage.

Newman is an icon and will be missed for years to come. Fortunately, he has left behind a trail of memorable movies(and not to mention, salad dressing) for us to enjoy for a long time.

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