Road to Perdition

There are only murderers in this room.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * * )

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Road to Perdition is a great movie on many levels. It is an excellent gangster flick, an excellent period piece, a good dramatic movie, and proof that Sam Mendes. It has enough subtlety to give the snobs a good show and enough gunplay for the masses to stick with it. While I can't say that it redefines any particular genre, it is a highly entertaining film.

Road to Perdition has many layers to it. It wraps a dramatic story of family with the setting of the 1920s prohibition era. Like Artificial Intelligence plays the antagonist hitman quite well, though not exactly the tough silent guy you think he'd be. He's quirky and odd but deadly with his small .45 in hand.

The real strength of Perdition is how it handles action. Gangster and action movies often find it impossible to hide anything. They show fifteen cuts of a gun battle with bottles exploding, guns blazing, and blood splattering. For some movies like Sam Mendes knows this rule and uses it in Road to Perdition.

The DVD of Road to Perdition is reference quality. The rainy scenes and many closeups look excellent on a large screen TV. It has a 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced transfer and both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS soundtracks. It is an excellent film to demonstrate how much a good home theater system can improve a good movie. With the DTS soundtrack set at about -30 db from reference, the roar of the tommy gun was just as shocking to me as to young Michael. The DVD also contains a directors commentary and additional materials. For a collector, it is a DVD worth buying.

Road to Perdition is a great movie. It is highly entertaining, very well done, and doesn't bow down to typical commercial film practices. Tom Hanks is beginning to get overexposed, but this movie gives him a great character to chew on and he does it a lot of justice. The DVD is top notch and worthy of a purchase. Don't miss it.