Rated NR

Based on a graphic-novel by crime writer Max Allan Collins, this is the second movie directed by Sam Mendes, whose first was the Academy Award-winning American Beauty. It marks an about-face from that post-modern dysfunctional-family epic. Set in the wintry Depression-era Midwest, Road to Perdition gives us instead a functional and happy family in which the stern-though-loving father, Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks, effortlessly discarding his stereotypical nice-guy image), just happens to be a hit man for the Irish-American Mafia. Some internecine complications and the dishonorable son of mob boss Paul Newman result in the murder of Sullivan’s wife (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and youngest son. So he and his 12-year-old son (Tylor Hoechlin) embark on a picturesque road trip of revenge and, believe it or not, spiritual redemption. Jude Law contributes a decent job as a sleazy photojournalist-cum-assassin. Beautiful period settings, a well-paced plot and understated acting make this a film to savor. For once, the hype about Oscar expectations seems warranted.


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