Tom Hanks says that he began to get insight into his character
through a Bible verse: "He who sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind." Road to Perdition has a dual meaning. In the story, the father and son are trying to get to a relative's home in the town of Perdition. But "perdition" also means ruin, damnation or Hell. This is a road story that is as much about where they don't want to go as it is about where they want to go.
Review by Darrel Manson


This page was created on July 18, 2002
This page was last updated on May 29, 2005

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Click to enlargeDirected by Sam Mendes

Graphic novel by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner
Screenplay by David Self

Tom Hanks .... Michael 'The Angel of Death' Sullivan
Tyler Hoechlin .... Michael Sullivan Jr.
Paul Newman .... John Rooney
Jude Law .... Harlen 'The Reporter' Maguire
Daniel Craig .... Connor Rooney
Stanley Tucci .... Frank Nitti
Jennifer Jason Leigh .... Annie Sullivan
Kevin Chamberlin .... Frank the Bouncer
Dylan Baker .... Alexander Rance
Ciarán Hinds .... Finn McGovern
Liam Aiken .... Peter Sullivan
Duane Sharp .... Father Callaway
James Currie .... Factory Worker
Gene Janson .... Chief of Police

Produced by
Joan Bradshaw .... executive producer
Tara B. Cook .... associate producer
Cherylanne Martin .... associate producer
Sam Mendes .... producer
Walter F. Parkes .... executive producer
Dean Zanuck .... producer
Richard D. Zanuck .... producer

Original music by Thomas Newman

Cinematography by Conrad L. Hall

Film Editing by Jill Bilcock

MPAA: Rated R for violence and language.
For rating reasons, go to FILMRATINGS.COM, and MPAA.ORG.
Parents, please refer to PARENTALGUIDE.ORG

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CD InfoRoad to Perdition (Score)
Thomas Newman

Director Sam Mendes's much-anticipated follow-up to his Academy Award®-winning American Beauty found him exploring the period gangster film--but with a moral fiber and undercurrent of family tragedy familiar from his Oscar® triumph. As he did with Beauty, Mendes again wisely entrusts the film's music to Tom Newman, a composer with an instinctive knack for getting inside a film's characters via innovative and often orthodox methods. As many of Newman's preceding scores have been rhythmically driven and rife with improvisation-driven experimentalism, its good to hear his equally distinctive writing for orchestra largely take center stage here again. But Newman's inquisitive musical instincts can't be denied, and his melancholy string writing is leavened first with subtle uilleann pipe flourishes that echo the characters' Irish-American roots, then with savory, yet ever-restrained touches of his own ethnic-defying instrumental color and rhythmic accents. It's another moody and introspective gem, seasoned with some lively period jazz (courtesy of the Charleston Chasers, Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra, and Chicago Rhythm Kings) and a warm, final surprise: a duet of John M. Williams's autumnal title track performed by none other than stars Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. --Jerry McCulley

1. Rock Island, 1931Music
2. WakeMusic
3. Just The FellerMusic
4. Mr. RanceMusic
5. Bit BorrowersMusic
6. Murder (In Four Parts)
7. Road To Chicago
8. Reading Room
9. Someday Sweetheart - The Charleston Chasers
10. Meet Maguire
11. Blood Dog
12. Finn McGovern
13. The Farm
14. Dirty Money
15. Rain Hammers
16. Blind Eye, A
17. Nothing To Trade
18. Queer Notions - Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra
19. Virgin Mary
20. Shoot The Dead
21. Grave Drive
22. Cathedral
23. There'll Be Some Changes Made - Chicago Rhythm Kings
24. Ghosts
25. Lexington Hotel, Room 1432
26. Road To Perdition
27. Perdition Piano Duet - Tom Hanks/Paul Newman

Road to Perdition
27 in x 40 in

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Framed | Mounted

Book infoRoad to Perdition
by Max Allan Collins, Richard Rayner (Illustrator)

Rock Island, Illinois -- 1929. Michael O'Sullivan is a good father and a family man -- and also the chief enforcer for John Looney, the town's Irish Godfather of crime. As Looney's "Angel of Death," O'Sullivan has done the bidding of Chicago gangsters Al Capone and Frank Nitti as well -- but when a gangland execution spells tragedy for the O'Sullivan family, a grieving father and his adolescent son find themselves on a winding road fo treachery, revenge, and revelation.

Writer Max Allan Collins is a two-time winner of the Private Eye Writers of America's Shamus Award for his Nathan Keller historical thrillers True Detective and Stolen Away. Award-winning artist Richard Piers Raynner spent four years working on the artwork for Road to Perdition, a labor of love that has resulted in some of the most stunningly realistic drawings of 1930s Chicago ever seen on printed page.


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Pray for Michael Sullivan
Click to enlargeClick to enlargeTom Hanks stars as Michael Sullivan, a hit man for an Irish gang in the Depression-era Midwest. When his work crosses into his private life, leading to the death of his beloved wife and son, Sullivan and his surviving son set out on a journey of revenge and self-discovery.

Click to enlargeREVIEW by
Pastor, Artesia Christian Church, Artesia, CA

Darrel has an incredible love and interest in the cinematic arts. His reviews usually include independent and significantly important film.
Click to enlargeOne of the difficulties in watching Road to Perdition is that we are used to having someone to like. Even in the age of antiheroes, we look for someone in the film with whom to identify. Road to Perdition is a story filled with characters that are evil. They may be well dressed, but the are evil. Some may have good manners, but they are evil. Some may seem to have a typical home life, but they are evil. Some are obviously depraved; some are pious. But in the end, all are evil.

It is of note how many times the characters are seen in the act of praying. It isn't new for mobsters to be seen in church in films. In The Godfather, Michael Corleone is in church for a baptism and as he speaks of renouncing sin, his men are on a killing spree. Click to enlargeMartin Scorsese in some of his earlier films reflects this also. He was fascinated that the wise guys in his neighborhood would always tip their caps to a priest. These men of evil are at home in the church.

Is it all just for show? Are they just hypocrites? Or do they know just how much they need the redemption the church offers? And can they actually find that redemption?

Click to enlargeRoad to Perdition has a dual meaning. In the story, the father and son are trying to get to a relative's home in the town of Perdition. But "perdition" also means ruin, damnation or Hell. This is a road story that is as much about where they don't want to go as it is about where they want to go.

Michael Sullivan (senior) knows the road he has traveled down. It is not the road he wants for his son. And yet, through a series of circumstances, the two of them are on the road, robbing banks together, seeking to avenge the murder of their family. Will Michael Jr. find the same road as his father?

Tom Hanks says that he began to get insight into his character through a Bible verse: He who sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind.

The violence of his life takes on new importance for him when it is visited on his family. Over and over in life, we discover the price for our actions and attitudes is more than we expect.

Click to enlargeThe story is very much about fathers and son. Michael Sullivan Senior and Junior, are one case, but there is also the relationship between John Rooney and his son Conner and the adoptive relationship between John Rooney and Michael Sr. The sins of the fathers are lived out in the lives of the sons. Michael has tried to keep his sons away from all of this, but it happens just the same. Michael strives to bring it to an end. But how can it ever be?

Click to enlargeThere is a bittersweet taste to the ending. We have hope for a future, but we know the terrible cost of that hope. It is in the ending that we finally have a chance to identify with someone. Actually, we have slowly been able to find points in common even with evil people along the way. But in the end, we see that the road may not have inevitably led to perdition. It is important to note that they never make it to their relative's house in the town of Perdition.

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