Road To Perdition (UK)
Every father is a hero to his son
Running Time: 115 mins
Retail Price: £17.99
Content Type: Movie
Two-time Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks stars as Michael Sullivan, a father fighting to keep his only son from traveling the `Road To Perdition`. Directed by Oscar®-winner Sam Mendes, this towering motion picture achievement has been acclaimed by audiences and critics alike as one of the year`s most extraordinary films.
Audio commentary by director Sam Mendes
Deleted scenes with director commentary
HBO`s "Making Of" featurette
Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1
Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Richard Piers Rayner
Max Allan Collins
Jennifer Jason Leigh
John M. Williams
Director of Photography:
Conrad L. Hall
Richard D. Zanuck
Tara B. Cook
Walter F. Parkes
Twentieth Century Fox
Your Opinions and Comments
I had a very lukewarm experience with "American Beauty". I neither loved it nor hated it. Though more accurately I neither liked it nor disliked it. It's sort of in the middle. So, despite the first rate cast, I wasn't too pushed to seeing "Road To Perdition". So I jammed my DVD in and was actually quite surprised at how much I liked it. Perhaps having known very little about the story (there are actually some good shocks early in the film, if you haven't seen promo material) and not hearing "this is one of the greatest films ever (ala "American Beauty") was good for my viewing experience.
Video: "Road to Perdition" sports an excellent 2.35:1 transfer. As you would expect from such a recent film, it is almost impeccable. Thankfully, blacks are dead on because this is a very dark film. The print itself is very clean and there is only a little amount of defects. Sadly, on first viewing I spotted three fairly obvious dropouts, which is disappointing from such a recent film. The film is also a tad soft, thought this was probably done to avoid compression artifacts, which are nil. I suspect on larger widescreen TV, it is quite sharp though.
Along with some unaccredited work on "Panic Room", this represents Conrad L. Halls' last piece of work. Cinematographer on such films as "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "Cold Hand Luke" and Mendes' own "American Beauty", he is responsible for some of the most famous shots in cinema. "Road to Perdition" is certainly a fitting finale to a distinguished career and won him an Oscar. Eloquently filmed in a noir/comic book style, the film contains many memorable shots. The scene where Hanks goes hell-for-leather with a Tommy gun in the rain is one of the best I've ever seen.
Audio: Even more impressive than the video is the audio. Though not a bombastic track, it is its subtly that makes is a reference track. Dialogue is always clear and bass comes in quite strong during gunplay. Surrounds are excellently used. For example, there is a scene where Hanks runs up a set of stairs. We don't see this but we hear it fully in the right rear speaker. Saying this is well done is a bit of an understatement.
Thomas Newman's score is very memorable and is integrated excellently on the track, usually coming from the rear speakers.
Extras: The highlight of the extras is Sam Mendes' audio commentary. If the film itself hadn't won me over, this commentary has. Mendes' is articulate, humorous and most of all informative. He has a grasp of film beyond many people with ten times the amount of films of his resume. He delves quite a bit into artistic choices and his knowledge of scene construction, character set-ups, composition etc is evidently quite vast. One could argue that Mendes' merely recites what is happening on screen. But he analyses it, giving you everything you may have missed about the significance of a scene or a character. This is one of the better commentaries for new films this year.
The 11 deleted scenes also come with director's commentary. Totally about 15 minutes most are mere scene extensions. But a fine new scene stars Anthony LaPaglia as Al Capone. The extended one take underground scene is also great. All are presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic.
Although "HBO Specials" are meant for promotion, I urge people to avoid this like the plague if they haven't seen the film. There are so many spoilers it's criminal. The feature itself is the usual, glossy interviews, film footage and not nearly enough making-of material.
Rounding of the disc are the usual galleries, notes and filmographies. Though no trailer for the film, there is one for the CD.
Overall: "Road to Perdition" is an immaculately made and acted film. Tom Hanks has been said by many to be miscast in this film, but I don't believe so. The simple fact that Hanks isn't your normal killer is exactly what the film needs. Paul Newman is electric as always in the film and Jude Law is also great (if underused) as a hired assassin. As Mendes says in his commentary they are all cast against type and in my opinion works the entire better for it. Perhaps the biggest surprise is Tyler Hoechilin. The surprise being the lack of accolades he seems to be getting. He holds his own against the older actors and seems to be a genuine acting talent. Not just a child actor.
The film is visually stunning. Full of long shots, fantastic set design and costumes, this feels like a 40's gangster film and it's great that some one had the ingenuity to make them like they used to. The DVD itself is good, with top-notch video and audio. The lack of any real making of material or information about the comic from which it originated is a disappointment. After this, I may have to re-evaluate Mendes' previous work.