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Look out for more coverage of
Road to Perdition in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Road to Perdition

Tom Hanks • Paul Newman • Jude Law
DIRECTOR: Sam Mendes

Moody moments of Mob mania THE CONCEPT:
Set in Chicago, circa 1931, this fine motion picture spotlights two Irish families immersed in the mob. But, ultimately, it’s about the relationships between two fathers and their sons, and how jealousy and competition put them all on a collision course that is instigated by desperation and fueled by revenge.

U.S. RELEASE: July 12 2002 • Rated: R


SAM MENDES on the fact that his movie is being compared favorably with such masterpieces as
The Godfather:

“You mustn’t be scared of things that have been done before, as there are very few things that haven’t been done before. It’s the way a movie is put together; it’s the rhythm that’s established and the atmosphere. I think it’s working in the tradition of theatre in England that teaches you that just because
Olivier did Richard III, it doesn’t mean you can’t do a good production of Richard III. And that’s the same words, let alone the same images. You are the sum of your influences, and what else you can bring to the table is important too.”

TOM HANKS on working with Paul Newman:
“The first scene in this movie all I did was leave the house, look at Paul and get in a car. The first two takes I didn’t even know what was happening, it was like an out-of-body experience, because I realized, I’m looking into Paul Newman’s eyes and we’re getting into a car! I couldn’t believe it. And he’d hate it if he heard me saying this. He’s a very regular guy, down-to-earth and, at times, preoccupied with either salad dressing or auto racing, but that actually adds to the experience of working with him on such a concentrated level.”

PAUL NEWMAN on working with Tom Hanks:
“Strangely enough, the majority of the work that we do in the film is not with each other. Tom has the quality of not dodging things, which is as true off screen as on screen. There’s no fancy footwork, there’s no approaching things sideways, what you’re looking at is what you get, and that’s refreshing.”

SAM MENDES on Newman and Hanks:
“Paul is very particular about how he approaches a part, he’s very detailed and wants to know everything you want from him up front. So you have to be very clear with him about how you envision a scene, because he wants to be directed. It’s incredibly moving to find yourself, only having directed one movie, having Paul Newman say, ‘Okay, tell me what do do!’ It empowers you and that breeds confidence within you, and everyone else as a consequence. And Tom Hanks is fantastic. He comes incredibly well prepared. Last night at the première in Chicago, I saw Tom walking up the press line and some part of me went, ‘Wow, that’s Tom Hanks!’ And I thought, ‘Wait a minute, he’s turning up for the première of the movie that I directed him in.’ [Their fame] does hit you at odd times.”

“I’m much more affected by the movies that I’ve been an audience member of, as opposed to been in. I’ve seen films that have moved me and enlightened me to a whole other way of thinking, and you cannot discount that. This movie will land in the consciousness to somebody who sees it, whether in Iowa or Thailand. The cinema is as powerful a medium now as going to church was for the people in the 1500s.”

“The film, unlike other gangster films, was not really about explosions, it was about family and vengeance, and I can understand that; not only understand it but, in some cases, admire it. That it happened to occur within the confines of the Irish Mafia is different, and I just found everything that happened in the film compelling and it gave me a chance to deviate from the kind of stuff that I usually do. I had a hell of a ride.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Road to Perdition site
Images above © 20th Century Fox
Feature © 2002 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #620, July 2002 cover

For reviews and features about all kinds of films, read Film Review regularly.

Film Review, Superpowered 2002 cover

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