‘Road to Perdition’, is an early 2000s crime film directed by Sam Mendes. Mike Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is an enforcer for the powerful John Rooney (Paul Newman). For a long time Mike has kept his profession a secret from his family. However during one of his missions, his son played by Tyler Hoechlin, discovers his father’s profession. This puts into the jeopardy both the profession of Mike Sullivan and his family who will be forever impacted by this occurrence.
The premise of this movie is exciting, its directed by the same director who took on the Spiderman trilogy and features an all star cast with the lights of Paul Newman, Tom Hanks, Daniel Craig and Jude Law, so what can possibly go wrong? Well, before we get into the negatives, let’s focus on the positives. What I liked about this movie, specifically in its first act, is that it had a John Wick sort of vibe to it. What I mean by this is that the mystery behind our protagonist’s profession was well hidden from us, just like John Wick. It took only a violent scene near the end of the first act for us to figure out what our male protagonist does for a living.
It is important to remember that at the heart of this movie is a father-son relationship. This aspect of the film was well explored from start to finish. We really get to see this relationship flourish and for Mike Sullivan’s son to get to grips and understand what his father does and why he does it. There was a particular scene in this movie in the second act where these two characters open up to one another and share what they really felt about each other. This was by far the most memorable and heartwarming scene in the movie because this scene takes a break from all the action and drama and just presents us with some brilliant writing and character development that is cherished throughout the remainder of the film.
The main problems with this movie are to do with its second and third act. They don’t match the tone established in the first act. The second act of the film was significantly more lighthearted with more shades of humor and comedic moments. In contrast, the third act felt way too rushed. I felt that at this point the film just wanted to be over. All the problems that the Sullivan family faced prior to the third act ended in a jiffy with a generic shootout sequence. There was barely any tension or suspense for us to feel that something terrible was going to happen to our protagonist. Also, I found it hard to grasp some of the performances in the film. British actors cannot do American accents. This is what I have learnt from this movie. Jude Law and Daniel Craig were not believable as midwestern mobsters.
There were also 2 characters introduced in the middle of the film that I felt went completely underused. Without spoiling anything substantial, these characters helped to heal Mike Sullivan after a battle. They had absolutely no lines of dialogue and were on screen for less than 4 minutes. However, in the end of the film we return to these two characters and they turn out to be arguably the most important characters in movie, but we end up knowing nothing about them. WTF?!?!?!
In conclusion, ‘Road to Perdition’ is an overrated film. Its premise is interesting and the film does a good job to develop the father-son dynamic, which is at the core of this movie. However, this film lacks consistency in both tone and pace between different acts. In addition, the performances by British Actors were under par to what I had expected.