Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and Jude Law go Prohibition era gangsters in Road to Perdition. So many others have acclaimed this as the movie of the year and the best gangster film since Godfather 2 but allow me to disagree. Sure, I enjoyed it, thought it was well-made, well-acted, with an interesting and original story, but it still doesn’t top The Bourne Identity or Spider-Man as my choice for best of 2002.
Hanks plays completely against any previous role, which many have commented on, but I think he was perhaps not the best choice as he’s gruff but not, well, menacing; the scene where he confronts the club owner is an excellent illustration. Jude Law reminds me so much of Malcolm MacDowell circa Clockwork Orange in this film. The way customer designer Albert Wolsky and the makeup department collaborate to emphasize his face yet take away his hair is probably why. Tyler Hoechlin is intense as Hanks’ son.
Director Sam Mendes and screenwriter make one big mistake, though, when they have Hoechlin narrate the opening standing on a beach. Otherwise I really like the way Mendes works, he’s not a film school graduate but a stage director and he gives us film which shows his fascination with the possibilities film offers visually and aurally that he doesn’t have on stage.