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Road to Perdition
BLU-RAY disk
Aug 3, 2010 By: Chris Bumbray
Road to Perdition order
Director:
Sam Mendes

Actors:
Tom Hanks
Paul Newman
Jude Law

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is a mob enforcer for John Rooney (Paul Newman) - the amiable head of an organized crime racket in Illinois during the Great Depression, with ties to the Chicago mob headed by Al Capone. Rooneys son, Connor (Daniel Craig) is a loose cannon, jealous of Michaels close relationship with his father. When Sullivans son, Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) witnesses the two of them carrying out a hit, Connor has Sullivans family wiped-out. Michael Jr., manages to escape the hit, and hits the road with his vengeance obsessed father- who wont rest until both John and Connor are six feet under.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
What a difference a few years can make! When I saw ROAD TO PERDITION back in 2002, I was slightly underwhelmed. I liked it well enough, but I guess I was expecting other UNTOUCHABLES, rather than the elegiac mob tale director Sam Mendes gave us instead. Watching it eight years later, Im amazed at how well this holds up. Im now convinced this, and not AMERICAN BEAUTY (which hasnt aged well), Mendes true masterpiece- and one that deserves more recognition.

Probably the most intriguing thing about PERDITION, is that it has likable everyman, Tom Hanks, playing a killer. Other than SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, Hanks was not known for playing dark roles, and the idea of having Hanks play a hit-man was extremely controversial in 02. Hanks really nails the part, and its a shame that in the years since he got bogged down by the Robert Langdon films, as he could have easily continued making darker films. Hanks truly is a modern day James Stewart. Jimmy, in addition to his turns in Capra films like MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, and ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE, also had a dark side- as evidenced by his amazing westerns (like WINCHESTER70, and THE NAKED SPUR) with Anthony Mann.

PERDITION plays a lot like a Mann western, updated to 1930s Chicago. The pacing of this film is exquisite- and, excepting a few melodramatic moments involving the young Michael Jr., PERDITION is a surprisingly lean and mean film. The film really hits its stride once Jude Law show up, in a career best performance as the demented photographer/hit man sent to kill the Sullivans. Law always at his best when his pretty boy looks are down-played, as they are here. I truly think that as Law gets older, hell grow into a more interesting actor- as he is here.

PERDITION is also note-worthy as the last theatrically released, live-action film featuring Paul Newman. This is a terrific film for Newman to go out on, despite it being a major departure for him- as hes not generally known for playing villains. Granted, hes a likable old guy in this, whos torn by his loyalty to Sullivan, and his love for his psychotic son (an early Daniel Craig role). Newmans climatic, rain soaked confrontation with Hanks is especially moving, and bittersweet.

THE EXTRAS
For the most part, this is a pretty loaded disc, although most of the extras previously appeared on the DVD that came out in 03. New to blu-ray is an , Introduction by director Sam Mendes where he sings the praises of the new HD transfer. This segment is presented in full 1080p, as is the trailer , and a half hour A Cinematic Life: A tribute to Conrad Hall .

From the old DVD, in standard def, we get a bevy of deleted scenes , the most interesting of which is a short scene featuring Anthony LaPaglia as Al Capone. Next up, The Making of ROAD TO PERDITION which is an EPK made around the time the film originally came out. We also get a commentary track from Mendes.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
ROAD TO PERDITION has aged like a fine wine. While I only somewhat liked it back in 02, its really grown into a classic, and I film Ill be revisiting often. I highly recommend picking this disc up.
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