Tom Hanks is a great actor but not one I get excited about or follow (I wish he played more bad guys). In Road to Perdition, he is Michael Sullivan, a henchman brimming with loyalty to his surrogate dad and boss John Rooney (Paul Newman). Rooney’s son, Connor (Daniel Craig), also a henchman for his dad, gets trigger happy killing someone he ought not to have. Peter Sullivan (Liam Aiken), Michael’s son, witnesses the hit and discovers dad kills people for a living.
(Spoiler Alert: Read at Your Own Risk!)
Connor is chastised by daddy in front of the entire crew. He gives him the cold shoulder, taking instead Michael into his confidence. Rooney lashes out at Michael (Connor’s move is extreme considering you don’t get clues he’s been harboring a prior grudge against Michael, but for the rest of the movie to work you have to believe that Connor was jealous enough to want Michael dead). Michael, however, is a few steps ahead and doesn’t walk into the trap, but most of his family cannot be saved from Connor’s wrath. Jennifer Jason Leigh (as Annie Sullivan) is short-lived in the movie as Michael’s wife.
Michael and son Peter go on the lam. Michael robs banks on the way, getting even with Rooney and Co. by hitting their interests. This is Peter’s story. His loss of innocence about dad and also his coming of age as he actually gets to know his dad. The show stealer here, though, is Jude Law playing a sociopathic hit man set on Hanks’ trail by the Senior Rooney. It’s a pleasure to watch him with his odd hair, looking demented and disturbed rather than pretty.
A decent movie with an excellent cast.
Director: Sam Mendes
Run time: 116 minutes