Re-watching the Classics: Road to Perdition


Road to Perdition started as a graphic novel by noir author Max Allan Collins.  Max Allan Collins has written many books and worked on television shows and movies over the years.  The film is directed by Sam Mendes and is his second film, after American Beauty and is currently directing the James Bond movies, also starring Daniel Craig.  I haven’t watched this film since it was in theaters, it was the only Paul Newman film I ever saw in a theater sadly.

This was Conrad L. Hall’s last film, he won an Oscar for this film as well as 2 others.  He was nominated for another 7 films through out his career, his career included a number of classic neo-noir films. This has a lot of great classic noir shots thanks to Hall. This is also historic for being the last film Paul Newman starred in.  Newman plays John Rooney and Craig plays his son Connor Rooney.  The Rooney’s are based on real life gangsters by the name of Looney.  This story is also based loosely on actual events of an enforcer going rogue on the Looneys.

Tom Hanks plays that rogue enforcer, Michael Sullivan.  Who goes on the run after his son Michael Junior played by Tyler Hoechlin witness a gang land slaying.

Jude Law’s character used a lot of famous photographs from famed crime scene photographer Arthur ‘Weegee’ Fellig.  Fellig is portrayed by Joe Pesci in the film “The Public Eye”(I have not seen this film yet) and his first book of photographs inspired the classic film-noir “The Naked City”(great film and hope to re-watch this classic and post about it in the future) and its subsequent television series.

Stanley Tucci plays real life mobster Frank Nitti.  Nitti was the right hand man of Al Capone, though Capone is mentioned numerous times in the film, he never makes an on-screen appearance.

Road to Perdition is about 2 sets of fathers and sons, I recently noticed that the father-son dynamic is something more prevalent in today’s noir and not that common in the classic era of film-noir.  Has anybody else picked up on this theme? I loved this movie when I seen it in the theater 13 years ago and still love it.  If you haven’t seen it, search it out, if you haven’t seen it in a while, re-watch it again.