Road to Perdition

Road to Perdition by Sam Mendes (2002)

Mike Sullivan works as a gangster for the Irish boss John Rooney. But one evening, things suddenly escalate, and many people’s lives will change forever.

“A chi mi chiede se Mike Sullivan era una brava persona o solo un povero disgraziato, io do sempre la stessa risposta: era mio padre”

(Michael Sullivan Jr)

Father & Son.

Illinois, 1931.

Through two parallel stories, the director, drawing from Max Allan Collins’ comic book, explores good and evil, the lights and shadows that often pervade the family universe.

We have a father, Mike Sullivan, blinded by the desire for revenge against his former employers after they killed his wife and youngest son, but also extremely protective and loving towards the only son he has left. He will embark on a true journey with him in search of what seems to be the only possible salvation.

And then there’s the other father, John Rooney. And there’s his son, Connor, the man responsible for the ambush on Mike’s family. The man Mike wants dead.

John knows that Connor has been stealing from him for years but, despite this, he loves him unconditionally. A paternal love that is almost moving. And he cannot and does not want to hand him over to Mike, whatever happens, whatever the consequences.


Sam Mendes traverses the noir genre to bring to the screen what is a true existential drama. He does so by directing a film that is very well structured formally, with dialogues and actions alternating at the right moment. And he gives us a memorable sequence: a nighttime and “silent” shootout accompanied only by Thomas Newman’s notes; a true delight for the eyes.

Tom Hanks is excellent in his role as a “bad guy,” skillfully maintaining balance without overdoing it and capable of giving many nuances to his character; Paul Newman recovers all his charm and charisma in what remains his last appearance on screen.

A must-see.


Road to Perdition

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