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Road to Perdition

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Daniel Craig, Stanley Tucci, and Jennifer Jason Leigh
Directed By: Sam Mendes

The Road to Perdition has an exit called "Road to Oscar©" for these boys! Jude Law, Tom Hanks, and Paul Newman simply glitter like the megawatt stars they are in this mesmerizing tale of a man torn between good and evil, family and "family" ….

Michael Sullivan (Tom "Bosom Buddy" Hanks) has a nice little family that he adores in that 1930's stoic father's way. His elder son, Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) is curious as to what exactly his father does for a living. Junior starts to spy on him and gets a feeling dad may not be exactly a salesman at the local propane gas company. Mike Jr. decides he's going to get to the bottom of this once and for all and tags along, hidden, in Pop's car as Michael Sr. leaves for one of his "evening calls" for his boss Mr. John Rooney (Paul - steel blues- Newman).

Pop picks up a guy named Conner (Daniel Craig). Conner is Mr. Rooney's prodigal son and Mike Sr.'s fellow employee. The two men are on a mission to simply have a little chat with an associate named Finn. Finn handles an alcohol division for Mr. Rooney's little town. His brother did too until he had an unfortunate accident.

Mike Jr. follows the guys, still unseen, to their soiree in the warehouse and spies on the tough-guy meeting through a neat, and convenient, hole in the wall.

Regrettably the meeting falls apart and people get shot to death. Junior sees the whole thing and is quickly spotted by his father and Conner, the gunmen. Pops warns him to stay quite and Junior agrees with a pinch of attitude.

Conner's not convinced and decides to take out the little Sullivan family.

Oops Conner missed a couple of Sullivans. In particular Mike Jr, and Mike Sr.. And Michael the elder is real, real mad.

So begins our tale. Now Michael Sullivan, a once trusted henchman and practically a son to Mr. John Rooney himself, is out for revenge. And he wont stop till he gets the man responsible for the hideous murders of his other son, Peter and his beautiful wife Anne (Jennifer Jason Leigh). He doesn't care who Conner is.

It's all so complicated now for Mr. Rooney. He must choose between his own troubled son, Conner the family killer and Michael whom he adores like a son. His decision is quick and pained. Rooney orders the expertise of a vicious terrible man-devil who "does this kind of thing" to find Michael Sullivan and Michael Jr. and be done with the whole situation.

Enter a cruddy-toothed, jagged finger nailed, hollow Renfieldesque fellow who digs taking photo essays of the dead named Maguire (Jude- yummy even scummed up- Law). Actually, Maguire enjoys taking photos of the macabre and doing a bit of murder for hire on the side. Two of his passions working in unison and he gets paid for it; Maguire's a happy man. Shiver.

Maguire is relentless and doesn't flinch a dollop of muscle that one of his intended victims, Michael Sullivan Jr., is a mere twelve years old. He thinks it'll make a great photo keepsake when he's done and is giddy with anticipation.Cringe.

We watch as Michael Sullivan and his son try to avenge their family and try to just stay alive.

The film is spectacular. A tad heavy hearted at times and a few things are a bit too easily explained, but when you've got acting caliber like Hanks, Newman, and Law painting the screen that's a mute barely noticeable point.

Michael Sullivan Jr. played by Tyler Hoechlin was precise. This kid is on the screen with some pretty big acting muscle and never, even for a nanosecond, gives up his scenes. Bravo.

Jude Law...what can I say? Well I'd breed with the man 'nough said? Hey, Jude's just a joy to watch as he morphs into his latest role, Maguire. And this fellow he inhabits is his juiciest villain yet. You can practically smell him from your seat he's so odious and sour. It's a brilliant performance. And gals without the creepy make-up Jude's one of the world's yummiest mansicles. He's scrumptious like an English muffin toasted gently and spread with full fat butter....there's a million crevices of naughty yummy bits. Of course he's already taken and started a little lawful brood with that gorgeous Sadie Frost....on to the next smit.

Tom Hanks. Thomas Hanks. This role gave the mega-talent a bit of a stretch. There's no perky doodle head tilts or sappy guffaws delivered by Tom's stern Michael fellow. Michael's stuck smack in the middle of life. A life, one gets the feeling, found him. Hanks delivers the emotional range with his usual grace and ease. He's just fantastic, as always.

Paul Newman is already an acting legend. You expect a caliber performance really. But, watching his delivery of subtle turmoil over the painful life altering decisions Rooney needs to make or Rooney's mask of jovial host at a "family" wake truly give insight to the immense and commanding acting talents Mr. Newman has. I hear he cooks too. What a guy!

Director Sam Mendes, infamous for the multi-Academy Award© winning behemoth American Beauty, has done it again. He's brought us another snapshot of an American family that's not so perfect, neat and traditional, but none the less a unit. Mendes brought back cinematographer Conrad Hall and composer Thomas Newman, from American Beauty as well, to create the feel of the piece. Hall's interpretations of Nancy Haigh's sets have an almost surreal translucent gossamer feel; like a dream state. The film's style and beauty are inspiring.

Find your way to the Road to Perdition there's a whole cast of talents in front and behind the film waiting to delight. Would this have been so great without Newman, Law or Hanks? No, but lucky for us we don't have to worry about that. Enjoy.

Snack Recommendation: Diner food and a cup-o-joe.

Please check out the soundtrack review HERE

You want a copy of Thomas Newman's brilliant soundtrack? Email me. (Compliments of Dreamworks music- supplies limited)

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