Road To Perdition

Sam Mendes’s 2002 follow-up to American Beauty finds him every bit as adept, arty, and Oscar hungry. This time he’s using the considerable talents of cinematographer Conrad Hall to offer a view of Irish-American crime in 1931 Chicago and environs. The Rembrandt lighting evokes the Godfather movies, the Good Country People might have stepped out of Bonnie and Clyde, and Paul Newman and Tom Hanks sanction the patriarchal bonding and the violence, which comes complete with a moral disclaimer at the end. (The story is David Self’s adaptation of a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins.) The result is classy entertainment in which women play only decorative parts at best, very shrewdly and cleverly put together but probably most rewarding if you invest in Fox or Dreamworks. Among the secondary cast members, particular standouts are Stanley Tucci, Jude Law, Daniel Craig, and Tyler Hoechlin as the boy narrator-hero; Jennifer Jason Leigh’s talents are mainly wasted. 116 min. (JR)

This entry was posted in Featured Texts. Bookmark the permalink.