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 í02. Hanks really nails the part, and itís 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 ITíS A WONDERFUL LIFE, also had a dark side- as evidenced by his amazing westerns (like WINCHESTERí70, and THE NAKED SPUR) with Anthony Mann.
PERDITION plays a lot like a Mann western, updated to 1930ís 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, heíll 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 heís not generally known for playing villains. Granted, heís a likable old guy in this, whoís torn by his loyalty to Sullivan, and his love for his psychotic son (an early Daniel Craig role). Newmanís climatic, rain soaked confrontation with Hanks is especially moving, and bittersweet.
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.