Tom Hanks stars in this gangster drama set in the American Midwest during the 1930s. Twelve-year-old Michael Sullivan Jr is curious about what his father (Hanks) does for a living, and one night decides to hide in his car as he goes off to work. It soon transpires that the elder Sullivan is a hitman for the mob, and when young Michael witnesses a killing carried out by the gangster boss’ son Connor (Daniel Craig), it starts off a chain of events which will mark Michael’s life forever. Co-starring Paul Newman and Jude Law and directed by Sam Mendes.
On its original release, the one area of The Road To Perdition that pretty much every critic rallied behind was the stunning cinematography. The work of the late, great Conrad Hall, the sheer look of the film is quite brilliant. And inevitably, it’s the first to benefit from a high definition upgrade.
But it’s not the only thing in Sam Mendes’ second movie, the one he made after his Oscar-snaring American Beauty. For The Road To Perdition is a quietly impressive movie, one not just notable for Tom Hanks in the lead role playing against type as a hit man. There’s also arguably the last great performance from Paul Newman, for instance, as well as the impressive work behind the camera from Mendes. And while the film doesn’t scale the heights that others in the genre have managed, it’s an interesting production nonetheless.
Its Blu-ray upgrade has been well handled, too. The picture quality here is rich and appreciated, with Hall’s photography draping the screen in tone and detail. The excellent audio track makes the most too of a wonderful score from Thomas Newman, and in keeping with the rest of the production, it’s quiet and assured, rather than overt and noisy.
The Road To Perdition still has its problems, and a perfect movie it isn’t. But it is a classy one, a film that’s absorbing and interesting, and right now, one that’s never looked better than its Blu-ray release. —Jon Foster