Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Road To Perdition

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin, & Paul Newman
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

When Road To Perdition hit theaters, it was critically acclaimed and was eventually nominated for six Academy Awards. While it was a great film, it was very dark and fails to deliver the emotional impact that it intended to have on it's audience. In the 1930s, Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is a family man living in the suburban mid-west. By all accounts, he is a normal man, who is hiding one very dark secret, he is a hit-man for an organized crime syndicate. His secret is safe and life continues on as usual until one day, his son, Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin), witnesses his father execute someone. Sullivan assures his bosses that everything is fine and his son won't say anything, but when has the mob ever taken that chance? Sullivan and his family are targeted for elimination and only he and his son manage to escape to Chicago, where he plans his revenge. As with most films based on a novel, the story here is top notch and very well written. Tom Hanks is the premier actor of our time, a man who will be remembered for centuries, but was he really the right choice to play Michael Sullivan? Hanks has many amazing skills as an actor, but playing such a cold, sedentary character, Hanks is unable to use his many tools and gives a performance that is very dry. The audience simply doesn't relate to Sullivan the way they relate to his son, and that brings the emotional impact of the film way below what it was intended to be. Tyler Hoechlin is fairly well known now, but when he got this role, it was his first, and he beat out over 10,000 other kids to get it. I don't know who any of those other kids were, but Hoechlin couldn't have had much competition, because he was out of this world good. It's a shame that the Academy rarely recognizes kids and that Paul Newman got the Best Supporting Actor nod over Hoechlin, because this kid is really the only one who comes off in a way that the writers originally intended. Road To Perdition was a tremendous story and was full of award winning actors, but the star power was more important to the producers, then finding actors who fit the characters as they were written. Aside from that and a painfully predictable ending, that you have to see coming, this was a pretty good film. I loved the setting and how dark it was, as well as the originality of a film that takes places nearly 60 years ago. I just find it ironic that in a cast full of Academy Award winning actors, it's a kid who steals the show.

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