MORIARTY Walks The ROAD TO PERDITION!!
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
per·di·tion (per-dish -en) n. 1. Entire loss; utter destruction; ruin; esp., the utter loss of the soul, or of final happiness in a future state; future misery or eternal death. 2. Loss of diminution. [Obs.] --Shak.
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Sam Mendes has crafted a film of exceptional power his second time out. Working with his amazing returning collaborators like Conrad Hall and Thomas Newman, he has made something special. The remarkable screenplay by David Self takes a powerful Max Allan Collins graphic novel and reimagines it as a burnished memory piece, rich in detail, mood, and graced by some incandescent performance work by the whole cast. ROAD TO PERDITION is the year’s best studio film so far, and a giant step forward for one of the most interesting directors working today.
DreamWorks has taken a chance here, and I hope it pays off for them across the board, both in terms of box-office and awards. I honestly don’t care about those things, but everyone else does, and I’d hate to see this film called a “failure” by any yardstick. This is the type of filmmaking that we ask Hollywood to do more of, and there’s almost a sense of shock that sets in while watching the movie, disbelief that you’re really seeing something so self-assured, so effortless and impressive at the same time. This is not a message movie, aching to be important, and it is no simple revenge picture or gangster story. Instead, it’s an intimate character study, a memory piece. It is a film about fathers and sons and the way that particular love makes us both weak and strong in equal measure. Tom Hanks has decided to expand his palette a bit, but more impressive is the canny supporting work by Paul Newman, who manages to carve an unforgettable character out of a few key sequences, much the same way Jude Law walks away with his scenes thanks to the freakish details of his work. There’s a simplicity to the story told that makes it hard to imagine anyone attacking it.
Well... let me back up a step, actually. Let’s take a look at where this project began. Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner collaborated on a dark, moody graphic novel a few years back. It was a violent, meticulously researched story about John Looney, his son Connor, and Michael Sullivan, also known as The Angel. Sullivan was the chief enforcer to the Looney Mob, a cold-blooded killer. Some of this actually has roots in fact, as explained in the “Tip Of The Fedora” at the end of the graphic novel. There are a number of big events, set pieces, that are not in the film, and that’s because David Self did not do a direct event-for-event translation of the comic in adapting it to film. Just as Collins took truth and spun his story out of it, Self took the original material and spun something else out of it. Something more austere, less tied to reality. Collins used real people like Frank Nitti, Al Capone, John Looney himself, and Bill Gabel, all of them giving the story an air of authenticity.
Self has changed some character names (Looney has become Rooney now) and created other characters completely (Maguire, played so dazzlingly by Jude Law, didn’t exist in the original). There are events in common, ideas, and the overall emotional pull of the piece is very much the same, but when the Academy is nominating screenwriters next year, Self deserves to be remembered for the exceptional skill and taste he showed in the choices he makes here. His script is a great example of someone giving respect to the original piece even as they feel free to invent and expand in order to make something work as a movie. In Self’s script, it takes 30 pages to finish the opening movement of the film, a beautifully painted portrait of the world that young Michael (Tyler Hoechlin) has grown up in, that he thinks of as home. It’s achingly pretty stuff, and Sam Mendes shows a real skill at creating a sense of community. There’s a wake, thrown by old man Rooney (Newman). Sullivan (Hanks) brings his wife Annie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and sons Michael and Peter (played by STEPMOM’s Liam Aiken) to pay their respects. Newman is magical in this film, and he comes across as a kindly grandfather to everyone gathered, charming and generous, with a silver tongue almost as sharp as his steel-blue eyes. Mendes cast Newman for iconic power, and he wrings every bit of it out of him, getting maximum value for his effort. In his 20 minutes of film, Newman reminds you what a movie star is capable of, and it’s quiet, textured work, not an empty show-off turn that will be forgotten in time. This stands next to his classic character roles in quality.
Michael is determined to figure out exactly what it is that his father does for Rooney. He knows that Sullivan carries a gun, and when Michael talks to Peter, he talks of “missions” that their father has to go on, painting him as a hero. Michael’s just old enough to know better, though, and it nags at him until he has no choice but to hide in his father’s car and ride along on one of the “missions.” Sullivan is joined by Connor Rooney (Daniel Craig), and they’re supposed to just go talk to someone. Connor loses his temper, though, and things get violent. Even worse, Michael watches it all happen. And here’s where Self does the work that makes the rest of the film possible, where he is most careful in his adaptation. In the original work by Collins, Sullivan was just a goon, the hired muscle of the Looney Mob. He did what he was told, and when his son spies on him, he sees a fairly cold-blooded gangland hit. In the film, Sullivan is a cool customer, poised even when tense, and he only resorts to violence after Connor causes a bad situation to get worse. It’s Connor who is the dangerous aberration, the mad dog. Sullivan acts out of self-preservation, and out of loyalty to Connor’s father. Because we can understand exactly why he does what he does, Sullivan remains sympathetic to us. What he does is wrong... but he’s not played as evil. It’s a fine line that Mendes and Hanks are walking here. If the film softpedals what he does, it risks undercutting its own strengths. You can’t make him a nice guy who just happens to kill people. And at the same time, you can’t make him a stone-cold monster.
In the graphic novel, those first 35 pages are almost all taken up with one incident, the night Michael tags along and spies on his father. In the script, Self has made room for so much more by that point, and he’s given us a sense of just how much Sullivan and his son have to lose. When their world is destroyed, it’s genuinely painful for the audience because of the incredible skill with which that world is painted for us. From that point forward, Self’s film is streamlined, simplified, and better for it. Collins wrote a rousing action story, and in the hands of most studios, this could have been a crowd-pleasing, pulse-pounding action drama like THE UNTOUCHABLES, with big bravura sequences that really brought crowds to their feet. But thankfully, Sam Mendes had something else on his mind, and what he’s made will resonate far deeper because of the restraint that is its primary appeal.
The original work is very much a revenge piece, and the mechanics of that revenge are canny and calculating and cold. The Angel brings his full wrath to bear against the Looney Mob, and it is awesome to behold. Self has streamlined the revenge that Sullivan and his son take, and by focusing it, he’s made the stakes of the film far more personal. Hanks isn’t playing a killing machine here. He doesn’t want to wade through the bodies of footsoldiers. He wants two men, a father and a son, and his relationships with them, and with his son, are the reason to watch this film. Before anything else, the film is concerned with the way that fathers and sons love each other, and how much hope fathers can have, and how much hurts sons can cause, and how much hurt sons can feel, and just how the weight of expectation crushes people and burns love down. Daniel Craig made no impression on me in last year’s TOMB RAIDER, but I remember Lloyd Levin raving to me about Craig. “He’s an amazing performer.” I didn’t understand Lloyd’s ranting until now, and I feel like the last one to get a joke. Daniel Craig is stupefyingly good in this film, and he does it with simple little details. His eyes... his smile... this guy is dead inside, and it shows. It practically leaks out of him, this malaise. He’s got the same diamond blue eyes as Newman, but his are haunted by failure, as weak as Newman’s are strong. In one moment, Newman doesn’t seem to know if he should kill his son or embrace him, and watching him reel under the impact of these powerful waves of emotion is quite affecting.
Newman also plays a really wonderful dynamic with Hanks that is totally different. Sullivan is the son that Rooney wishes he had, honorable and smart and decent. There’s a piano duet between them (actually performed by Hanks and Newman) that is warm and wonderful. Much like in GLADIATOR, seeing that father give that affection away to someone else turns Connor black inside. He’s a weak little man, and the way he acts to protect himself over the course of the film is nauseating. Mendes makes the considered decision to not show Connor kill Annie and Peter. We hear it, but showing it or showing their bodies would have been so visceral, so raw, that it would have overpowered everything we saw after. Mendes is very careful about what violence he actually shows, and how he shows it, because he is fully aware of the impact of those moments. He saves it for the moments when it really matters.
Detailing any of the story after the first thirty minutes or so is a disservice to the unforced, unhurried ease with which the story is laid out, so I’ll tread lightly. For me, a great movie has to have a great supporting cast, and this one does. Dylan Baker manages to make an impression in just a few moments, and Stanley Tucci drops all affectations and comes up with something riveting as Frank Nitti. Certainly the film belongs to Jude Law whenever he is onscreen. He’s brought in to clean up the mess that Connor has made, and he’s an odd bird, both physically and mentally. There’s a joy to what he does, a fascination that makes it more than a job to him. His clothes barely fit right, and his teeth are a ruined mess. Law doesn’t seem interested in being good-looking. Even the way he walks, all flat-footed and graceless, seems to be in complete contrast to the limber physicality of his work as Gigolo Joe. Law seems determined to be a character actor, not a movie star, and we’re richer for it.
Technically, the film is accomplished and beautiful. Conrad Hall is one of the greatest living cinematographers, and his work here should be shown to anyone who wants to argue about whether to shoot in film or on digital media. Hall is a chemist, a magician, and he manages to bend light and color as if by magic. The way he shoots the sheets of powerful black rain or the way he films a roomful of men reading newspapers or the way he shoots the final showdown between Rooney’s men and Sullivan on a cold winter street... it is poetry, sculpted shadow, and would work without a single sound effect or line of dialogue or note of score. Of course, Thomas Newman’s Irish-flavored score is lush and powerful and perfectly complements the visual depth of what Mendes has put together, and the entire sound department deserves special recognition next March because of how beautifully each scene is built, both visually and aurally.
Much of the power of this film comes from the fact that it isn’t needlessly complicated. They didn’t feel they need to inflate it into some sort of “event movie” in order to justify making it. More than anything, this is a case of the right source material in the right screenwriter’s hands with the right director to bring it all to life. This is one of those cases where each decision along the way was exactly right, and the result is alchemy, a rich and rewarding film that will hopefully be embraced by an audience hungry for substance in these summer months.
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July 1, 2002, 6:52 a.m. CST
by Shawn F.
I have yet to hear a bad review about this. I almost picked up the reissued graphic novel last night but I decided to wait until the 13th. Man, can't wait!
July 1, 2002, 6:55 a.m. CST
by The Biomind
First? And who ist this "The Angel"? Some masked vigilante or what. Perhaps I should have read the whole article...
July 1, 2002, 7:01 a.m. CST
This film was lifeless.... The performances were just bland, with the exception of Newman who didn't get enough screentime. The Hanks character showed no spark and never at anytime during the film did he make you feel for him. Even the Director took the easy road. This looks (cinematography) and sounds (Soundtrack) just like AMERICAN BEAUTY. Guess I just expected more from this team.
July 1, 2002, 7:03 a.m. CST
....I'm still in shock over your Minority Report review - as for Harry's......dear oh dear. At least yours was 'mixed'. MR is one of the best films I've seen in a loooooong time, and I'm very hard to please. I can't help thinking there's something behind Harry's review, an agenda, a grudge, or mindless eclecticism for the sake of it - either that or he saw a different film to me (and probably 95% of the cinema-going public...Rotten Tomatoes 140 Positive, 9 Negative) ANYroad, this is about Road to Perdition, a film I am very VERY excited to see. Despite your inexplicable problems with MR, I still trust your opinion big fella :) Did I say I loved Minority Report and can't understand how anyone could give it a negative review? Did I say that?
July 1, 2002, 7:06 a.m. CST
by Coatsy UK
.....a little short but to the point, and wonderfully readable as ever. Good work mate.
July 1, 2002, 7:36 a.m. CST
by KID AB
Daniel Craig was awesome in a British Drama called 'Our Friends in the North', which was broadcast in Britain in 1996. It's being repeated on a digital channel in Britain at the moment, but if it doesget broadcast where you are, I would recommend you watch it. It's possibly the best acted British drama of the past decade. It stars Daniel Craig, and I'm not surprised by the praise you have given him. It also stars Christopher 'Best British Actor Ever' Eccleston and Mark Strong, who' starring in the upcoming Thomas Vinterberg sci-fi drama 'It's All About Love'.
July 1, 2002, 7:47 a.m. CST
so the original graphic novel is a piece of hack writing surpassed at every point by the film. I'm so glad.
July 1, 2002, 7:59 a.m. CST
Normally your reviews are the most incisive and eminently readable on AICN, but this one has moments of greatness and wreckage scattered intermingled. If one hasn't read the source material, they need a damned scorecard to keep track of the characters in this piece, and I'll be damned if I can decipher how much or how little of the plot you've actually explained, let alone spoiled. Also, I realize he's one of the two or three most well-known actors/stars on the planet, but I would have like to have heard a bit more about Hanks role in all this, because in the past year we've heard how much of a departure from his norm this role is for him. The lengths to which the screewriter has gone to differentiate the character from it's graphic-novel source, it would seem to be from your review, aren't quite so dramatic a departure for Hanks at that. I guess I just would expect a bit more detail and clarity from someone like yourself, whose work I respect so highly. (I heartily agree, though, with the assertion that Law seems to be embracing the role of character actor as opposed to leading man, and hope he continues to do so).....
July 1, 2002, 8:22 a.m. CST
No doubt we'll have to wait an extra six months in the UK, as usual. This even has a Brit director but still we have to wait until everyone else has finished with their English language prints before we get to watch some badly scratched copy. Grrrrrr
July 1, 2002, 8:50 a.m. CST
I have a long must see list that includes Road to Perdition, but now it simply must be underlined! I can't wait!
July 1, 2002, 8:52 a.m. CST
If there is anything that makes me smile, it's reading something from somebody who says a film doesn't work. It's kind of a pointless statement to make as a big-picture, you-should-be-agreeing-with-me-you-dull-minded-masses sort of statement. An engine in a car, a computer, either does work, or doesn't. But all these things are built on the real world laws of physics, and those are the most formal of requirements, which can't be tossed aside. Movies are different. The question of whether or not they work is an individual one, because whether they work or not depends on the rather informal (and therefore unpredictable and hard to manipulate) rules of human behavior. So when somebody says "this film doesn't work", I'm inclined to say "speak for yourself". Instead of trying to extrapolate one's personal point of view to millions of filmgoers, and by doings so try to impose an unreasonable amount of personal expectations on other people's tastes, I suggest people simply sit back and relax. You will hate the movies you hate, and you will love the movies you love, but you will be able to relax, and perhaps see how people could enjoy such a movie, even if you don't. In the meantime, your prejudices might not get as much in the way of you truly watching a film you might just like.
July 1, 2002, 9:22 a.m. CST
by Atticus Finch
Can't wait to see it!
July 1, 2002, 9:37 a.m. CST
Just like Sam Mendes's other overrated movie, AMERICAN BEAUTY, this movie is pretentious, self-conscious filmmaking. The performances are merely adequate. These days all Hanks has to do is look constipated and everyone starts talking Oscar. And don't believe the hype surrounding his turn as a bad guy. He plays a *nice* bad guy. The best thing about the movie is Conrad Hall's cinematography, which, unfortunately, only tends to magnify the film's flaws. ROAD TO PERDITION is predictable stuff. There's nothing new or interesting behind its surface beauty.
July 1, 2002, 9:55 a.m. CST
All the still shots I've seen look like they were leftovers from the Coen Bros. masterpiece. THe tone and themes sound very similar also. This isn't a bad thing at all.
July 1, 2002, 10:03 a.m. CST
According to Max Collins, "The Road to Perdition" is based on the graphic novels of "Lone Wolf and Cub". Just finished the his graphic novel and it is great!!! IT is the American Version of "Lone Wolf and Cub"!!!
July 1, 2002, 10:06 a.m. CST
...and that's fine with five-tone - 'miller's' is one of the finest movies of all time in my book. a couple of things to cover: daniel craig - of all the shitful things in the shitfeast that was 'tomb raider', this guy's non-performance was probably the worst. glad to see he's back in form...or found some form. sam mendes - don't blame mendes from how over-rated 'american beauty' was. the fault wasn't with the direction or the performances but a fundamentally flawed script. good dialogue by alan ball, just a few shitty ideas that failed to stand up to close scrutiny (mainly, if spacey pursues his fantasies, he's raging against the soulless tyranny of suburbia, but if bening follows her dreams, she's a cheating, materialistic bitch- WTF???). mendes sounds like he knows what's what...let's leave him to it. paul newman - he fucking rocks. there was an 'esquire' interview with him a year or so back when he said he wanted one more good role. sounds like this is it, and i'm damn pleased. tom hanks - personally, i think his best work was in 'joe versus the volcano', but 'perdition' looks like it might blow what's left of my hair back. i'm tommy five-tone and i just saw 'MIB2' - not bad, actually.
July 1, 2002, 10:11 a.m. CST
Well, after seeing Minority Report, it was good, far from great. I hope this film can really do it for me, and it looks like it can. I enjoy your reviews, and you are definitely one of the reasons I keep coming back to this site. Good job.
July 1, 2002, 10:49 a.m. CST
July 1, 2002, 11:14 a.m. CST
Miller's Crossing is my all time favorite movie mainly because of the enigmatic characters and story line. I had the watch the movie 3 times to understand everything and I still caught more from mumbled dialog 10 viewings later. It takes the art of subtlety to a whole new level. This movie looks like its done in the same style and tone. I can see this movie being big (because of Hanks) and people thinking this is such an "original" movie. Im holding off judgement till I see it atleast. I always wanted more movies in the same style of MC but not one that's trying to pimp for an oscar. (ala Beatiful Mind)
July 1, 2002, 12:17 p.m. CST
Okay, you pathetic twits, I'm only gonna post this one more time: Minority Report sucked. I thought it sucked, most of the people I saw it with thought it sucked, Harry thought it sucked, no small amount of posters on this site agree. So knock it off, Splinter, et all... There are so many plot holes that one poster started documenting them (they were up to 17 last I checked.) If you loved it, great, I genuinely wish I could have seen it with your eyes...but when someone is put off by the laundry list of technical and logistical flaws in this butt sandwich, would you PLEASE stop acting like their trashing Citizen Friggin' Kane? "Best movie of the Summer?" Good God, I don't even think it was the best movie put out that week (Lilo and Stitch pummled its pretentious ass into the dirt, IMHO, and it looks like the ticket buying public is moving in the direction of agreeing with me.) ANYWAY...I don't necessarily see any real conflict between Hanks being anti gun and starring in this movie...is it not a morality tale? I'm not anti-gun, before anyone gets worked up, BTW. Also, I don't think this will have the underlying weird-ass sense of humor that Miller's Crossing had, so comparing the two seems a bit off kilter...yeah, they're both ganster films, but...I might add that Miller's Crossing was a remake of The Glass Key, so calling this one a knock off seems a bit unfair...and BTW, thanks Moriarty, for manfully struggling to keep the vision of intellectual discussion going in this atmosphere of whiny ass Sci Fi dorks. Pole out...
July 1, 2002, 12:54 p.m. CST
by SLEAZY DINOSAUR
I'm really looking forward to this movie, American Beauty is my all time favorite movie. I've read some of the posts that said it was overrated, to each his own I guess, but I think it was just about the best movie of the last 20 years or so. Of course since I loved American Beauty so much, it will be hard for this one to live up to expectations, but I've got my fingers crossed.
July 1, 2002, 1:19 p.m. CST
Nobody except for that guy several posts above yours. They're acknowledged adaptations of "Lone Wolf and Cub".
July 1, 2002, 1:40 p.m. CST
So you, Harry, and some internet geeks thought MINORITY REPORT sucked? Fine. You're about 0.00001% of the population. Turns out a LOT of people liked it, and just because you disagree does not make us any less film fans than you are. In fact, you're arrogant assumption that YOUR opinion on a movie is the only one that is valid doesn't make you sound like a movie fan. It makes you sound like an asshole. You didn't like the movie, I did. Harry didn't like the movie, but most critics did. Your little computer-geek friends here didn't like it, but everyone I know in the real world that saw it loved it. So take that for what it's worth, and shut the fuck up.
July 1, 2002, 1:46 p.m. CST
Why is this being compared? Because they've both got Tommy guns in them? I can't see very much at all beyond the setting and obviously downbeat mood that makes it comparable as a story to MC.
July 1, 2002, 2:13 p.m. CST
i agree, just because this is in the same genre, has brilliant cinematography, and an Irish-affected score, doesn't mean it's going to be anything like Miller's Crossing. this will probably be a fantastic movie, but there's no way it's going to have the twists and turns, humor, or brillant dialogue of that film. ~~~ and as far as American Beauty is concerned, that's just about as good of a debut film as anyone could ever ask. it's flaws lie in the screenplay (as someone else pointed out.) Alan Ball is a hell of a writer, but he is in SERIOUS need of a good editor. there are a few absolute GROANERS in A.B. ("you are soooo busted!" "welcome to america's weirdest home videos" etc) and the same fate befalls his episodes of Six Feet Under as well. ~~~ anyway, this movie's gonna ROCK.
July 1, 2002, 2:17 p.m. CST
This movie could definitely be up for Best Pic in the coming future, you'll see you will all see!!!!
July 1, 2002, 3:30 p.m. CST
Wow....stick a couple days growth of beard on him and Hanks would make a suitable Indy Jones....You hear that Uncle George and SS? Maybe anyone with a hat a leather jacket would make a suitable INDY....LOL....Actually, This flick is one I am looking forward to...Good review Moriarity.
July 1, 2002, 3:33 p.m. CST
RTP still has to go through Gangs of New York, Solaris, and Catch Me if You Can.
July 1, 2002, 3:46 p.m. CST
Thanks for proving my point...I suggest reading this very slowly, as to not blow right over your kindergarten-level reading skilled head. Nowhere did I suggest that my opinion was the only valid one...in fact, had you actually READ THE FRIGGIN' POST, you would have noted the following statement..."If you loved it, great, I genuinely wish I could have seen it with your eyes..." What the Hell did you think that statement was in there for? Karma? There is nothing in any way, shape or form that suggests that anyone is less of a film fan for liking it. My rage was directed at people who freak out in EVERY DAMN TALKBACK ON THIS SITE about how their little pet movie isn't getting covered in fanboy jizz. If I screw up, I'll own up, but I stand by my original sentiment (go back and read it...for the first time, apparently.) And BTW, people in the real world make sure they know what the Hell they're talking about before humiliating themselves in a public forum.
July 1, 2002, 4:18 p.m. CST
Face it...American Beauty was made by Kevin Spacey and Conrad Hall. I think the story will be similar here. Maybe this movie will really be great, will have layer upon layer of cinematic power. The trailer kind of makes me doubt that, though. Come Oscar time, I think this one is gonna play the part of A Beautiful Mind and steal some statues from The Two Towers, which should be awesome, God willing.
July 1, 2002, 4:36 p.m. CST
David "The Haunting" Self wrote it.
July 1, 2002, 4:46 p.m. CST
You said, and I QUOTE, "Minority Report sucked. I thought it sucked, most of the people I saw it with thought it sucked, Harry thought it sucked, no small amount of posters on this site agree." That's the attitude that pisses me off. As if YOUR opinion is a fact. As if just because YOU didn't like something, that it isn't worthy. And later you replied, saying "My rage was directed at people who freak out in EVERY DAMN TALKBACK ON THIS SITE about how their little pet movie isn't getting covered in fanboy jizz." The thing is, NO ONE HERE WAS TALKING ABOUT MINORITY REPORT UNTIL YOU BROUGHT IT UP. You just wanted to pick a fight, you little fucking fanboy troll, and you got what you wanted. People like you are the reason this site gets a bad name, and I'm fucking sick to death of little trolling cunts like yourself.
July 1, 2002, 5:44 p.m. CST
He is a VERY good actor and more well known in the UK. Glad to see him getting a great part in the US. Hopefully more to come. Rent Some Voices to see a truely great performance!
July 1, 2002, 6:28 p.m. CST
Sigh...say what you will after this, but I'm not gonna contribute any more...no one here was talking about Minority Report before I brought it up? What, did I hallucinate Splinter's post, the one which prompted the exchange and THE ONE I MENTIONED IN MY ORIGINAL POST? And I'll grant you that you may assume I was being totalitarian by reading the first few lines of mny post...if you stopped reading there. Had you read the rest of it, no. I was trying to say that it made no sense for anyone to treat others like they were three headed freaks for not caring for it. That's all. I will admit I could have phrased it better, and my irritation got the better of me, but is it too freakin' much to ask that people actually read the posts all the way through? The SUBJECT OF THE POST said "this is supposed to be about Road!" If you thought I originated the discussion, what did you think that was? Apologies for dragging this out, and I certainly can't take offense if I get my ass bounced outta here for all this, but JEEZ people, couldja check your sources before making a statement like "no one was talking about this before you brought it up?" It's not THAT far up the message list...
July 1, 2002, 7:53 p.m. CST
Wow, I lose it for a second about the whole MR thing, and now...the TB has a bunch of MR posts. Apologies all, quite the opposite of what I intended. Oh, sweet irony...
July 1, 2002, 8:05 p.m. CST
You left out an important definition for "perdition": hell. Of course, the other's you cite certainly bear upon this story, but Rooney's remark that none of them will get to heaven I think ties into that. If AMPAS doesn't give Tom Hanks another Best Actor Oscar next year, they're totally fucked, and I don't care what their reasoning is. Hanks definitely should have won for Cast Away, and preferrably for Apollo 13 as well. This is going to be SO AWESOME A MOVIE!
July 1, 2002, 8:33 p.m. CST
by Sod Off Baldric
This movie has been on my must-see list ever since I first heard about it. I will be there.
July 1, 2002, 9:25 p.m. CST
Dear Moriarty, Your review was very confusing. It is apparent that you are impressed with the film but I could not follow which characters you were writing about, or who was doing what to who and for what. Clarity clarity clarity my man. Read it again. One of your worst efforts. No A-Game here. C-Game. Get it together pal!
July 1, 2002, 10 p.m. CST
by drew mcweeny
... some of this is written at 3:00 in the morning, after I've already put in twelve hours or so of creative work for the day. However, I agree that the syntax was a wee bit tortured here, including a magnificent run-on opening sentence. I think I've cleaned it up now, and I beg your forgiveness.
July 1, 2002, 10:29 p.m. CST
by diablo muerte
that is all i can describe the comic as. one scene after another that could have been something cool yet perpetually handled in the wrong way. The end of the comic leaves on with the worst case of literary blue balls ever. it was like fucking a pile of the driest sand in the world while having your ballbag stuck in the suction tube of a vacume. just lacklustre as hell, Collins failed horribly building a mythos around this character and he and the artist seemed to have had different visions.The art was good in a sence but with the innapropriate and misplaced occasional expressions at a time when they should have built a sence of awe, dread, excitement, dark melancholie. aw, but alas, i have little hope for the film, being directed by the guy who made "Art Film For Dummies" (american beauty), this is leaving a stink that could knock a buzzard off a shit wagon.
July 1, 2002, 10:32 p.m. CST
by diablo muerte
and how about that final scene where he takes his revenge in the comic, i felt like my nuts had just been popped in a vice. How can you blow a climax that bad?
July 1, 2002, 11:11 p.m. CST
This was a great and informative review! It seemed very professional and made me want to see this sure-to-be-great film even more. The trailer clinched it for me and this review made me want to see this film even more, if that is in any way possible. Great job! My trust in your reviews will remain unwavering!
July 2, 2002, 1:37 a.m. CST
Smart guys can write bad scripts. Remember, Kenneth Lonnergan wrote "Rocky and Bullwinkle" as well as "You Can Count on Me," and Self wrote "Thirteen Days;" so the fact that he wrote "The Haunting" doesn't guarantee this film will be bad. I actually think it sounds like it was smartly handled from the previews and Moriarty's assessment.
July 2, 2002, 8:59 a.m. CST
by Wee Willie
Sometimes talkback is so damn depressing. Who cares which will be a better film, and who cares about Tom Hanks' politics. just because someone doesn't believe in guns in the real world, but uses them in a movie does not make them a hypocrite. American Beauty was not overrated. Sam Mendes is a major talent. I'm looking forward to soemthing other than a CGI-filled mish mash of CLones, Spiders, and Minority reports this summer. I hope Perdition is it.
July 2, 2002, 10:50 a.m. CST
What are you talking about? This entire talkback has had nothing to do with the franchise which you are promoting. I do believe the good folks on this talkback have been discussion issues related to The Road to Perdition, with some digressions into conversations about Minority Report. We have obviously moved on from your subject. Go find a Star Wars talkback if you wish to discuss it. Or do you work for Lucas, and decided that you needed to continue to hype a movie that is fading quickly from this summer's viewing habits. Expand your mind a bit, watch a movie that actually doesn't involve spaceships once in a while, may be good for you.
July 2, 2002, 1:10 p.m. CST
by The Tao of Joe
but thats not a bad thing. Alot of great american movies were based on japanese/ hong kong movies. Everyone should go see S.A. if they havent already. Very cool stuff. But even the Road to Perdition itself seems somewhat derived from S.A., as the Lone Wolf Character in that film said he walked down the road to hell several times. When this comes out, I will be there for the 7 and 9 o clock showings.
July 2, 2002, 7:46 p.m. CST
Am I reading right? American Beauty--the best movie of all time? No question? LAUGH OUT LOUD. Hahahahehe...cough, hehe, thanks for that humor. I guess I could see considering American Beauty the best movie of all time, but only if I never watched good movies. Alan Ball was a sitcom writer, and it shows in American Beauty. The whole script reads like a lost Now and Again episode. There are three things that elevate American Beauty: the cinematography, Kevin Spacey's performance, and parts of the soundtrack. Yeah, best movie of all time.
July 2, 2002, 9:33 p.m. CST
American Beauty was the best film of '99 (3 Kings was, or should've been, a close 2nd.) Exquisite images, + this incessant undercurrent of quiet desperation, even in the film's lighter moments + 'groaners' as someone said. Road to Perdition is gonna be great, if only for Jude Law (the man is yummy!) Tom Hanks... who can even be bothered anymore. It's like trying to critique Vince Carter. Out.
July 2, 2002, 10:17 p.m. CST
Fight Club has so much more going for it on so many more levels. It's funnier, it's darker, it's more daring, it's more innovative, it's more unique, it has a stronger supporting cast, it has greater cinematic scope, it's more provocative, it's more technically impressive...I mean, I'm not trying to say it's perfect or anything, I'm just comparing it to American Beauty. AB was pretty good, Three Kings was almost really good (end is a bit weak). Fight Club is great. Being John Malkovish had an absolutely stellar first hour but it slowly went downhill from there...still managed to be a generally good film. Oh well, 1999 was a pretty good year. Light years better than 2000.
July 2, 2002, 10:55 p.m. CST
The same thing...The White Man's Burden. And both were good, though a little pretentious...I guess I haven't seen many films, because I don't know of any other movies about suburbia with a "(Hollywood's favorite) the violent, autocratic military man. (With some latent homosexuality thrown in for flavor)" character...Please, refresh my memory. Which film(s)had that?
July 2, 2002, 11:10 p.m. CST
The studio really blew it with this one. After seeing the trailer I feel no need to see the movie. They basically told me the whole story. Maybe it's well done, and maybe it's not. Don't really care. I might rent it at some point. Harry, next time you talk to your 'buddies' in the Industry, please articulate the following: a trailer is merely a device to tell a potential viewer what the movie is about and which stars are attached to it. Shorter and sweeter, por favor. Gracias.
July 3, 2002, 2:37 a.m. CST
i thought American Beauty was wonderful, but whoever said that Spacey and Conrad Hall were the magic of the film (and Thomas Newman, though his career since has been spent apeing that score) was right on the money. But this time Connie and Thomas are again in tow, and instead of Spacey we've got Hanks AND Paul Newman. So I don't see how this could be any less magical. I'm sure it won't meet the same success that American Beauty did, though that was kind of a fluke too...I know a lot of the people in my area just didn't understand it. ~~ Speaking of movies no one understood, Fight Club was certainly (for me, at least) the winner of 1999's films. Every repeated viewing of American Beauty for me has been kind of a disheartening experience, because I find myself less and less enamored with it...but Fight Club stands up to repeat viewings, I've watched it three times as many times as I've watched American Beauty and I love it more every time. Thanks again, Fox DVD, for realizing what a special film it was. ~~ And Three Kings was fucking robbed at the Oscars that year. Among the major awards, it probably only deserved Best Director, but still...a few nominations, please? ~~~ And does anyone know what David O. Russell is up to these days? Give us something else to chew on! I thought Three Kings was a major arrival for a major talent (and I really wish more people had seen the film, the points it brings up about Sr. might have kept this scoundrel out of the white house.) ~~~ I knew a kid named Daniel Craig in middle school. The Vice Principal caught him jacking off in the bathroom like THREE seperate times. ~~ That is all.
July 3, 2002, 4:36 p.m. CST
You are one of the only reasons I keep coming back to AICN. The expert analysis and passion you bring to your reviews, coupled with your obviously unforced talents as a true writer, bring a smile to my face every time I see your name on this site. Harry might have the passion, but he can't write worth crap. Keep up the good work and I'll keep coming back to read it. Kudos!
July 3, 2002, 6:09 p.m. CST
Pabst Blue Ribbon!
July 3, 2002, 6:30 p.m. CST
American Beauty was not intended to be a realistic movie..more like..hyper-realistic, or something. Anyway, I wouldn't call it the best movie of all time, or even necessarily the best movie of the year, but it was at least a WORTHY Oscar winner. It was a good movie and among the better movies of the year. It also was not a period piece..it took place entirely in the present. The old fogies that vote LOVE period pieces and epics. Beautiful Mind, Snakeshit in Love, Titanic, Gladiator, Forrest Gump, English Patient...see a pattern here? It's amazing to me that American Beauty won, and I was happy, even if it wasn't necessarily the obvious best movie of the year. As bad a choice as Gladiator was for best picture, I almost think Beautiful Mind was worse. I finally saw it a few days ago and it was so incredibly...nothing. I wouldn't say it sucked, I wouldn't say it was good...it was the Movie That Wasn't There. So incredibly mediocre and forgettable. Of course I had also just seen Monster's Ball for the first time, which blows Beautiful Mind of the screen. Halle is pretty good overall I guess, but Billy Bob is just incredible. I've never especially liked him, but that fucker can ACT. A joke he didn't get an Oscar. I just saw Vanilla Sky and that was actually pretty good too. I didn't see the original so I can't compare, but I thought it was good overall and one of Tom Cruise's best performances ever. I understand the complaints of Tom Cruise always playing himself, but I thought he was less "Tom Cruise" in Vanilla Sky than in any other role in recent memory. I watched The Majestic as well on my 4-pack, and frankly it wasn't too bad. Not nearly as sappy as I would have expected. Of Monster's Ball, ABM, Vanilla Sky and The Majestic, ABM was probably the least good movie of the bunch. What movie was this post about again? Oh yeah, Road to Perdition. Newman can convey more with one look that most actors these days do with a whole movie of dialogue, so I have high hopes for this one.
July 3, 2002, 7:35 p.m. CST
But can Tom Hanks can play a dark character believeably? I swear that line in the trailer when Newman says that none of them are going to heaven and Hanks says "Danny can", doesn't give me much hope for him being able to truly give weight to a morally ambiguous character. Everyone else in the cast looks great. I'll have a hard time trusting the critics on this one after they gushed all over the emotionally vacant Minority Report. Moriarty has been pining away for this movie since he heard it was being made, and so I question his objectivity.
July 5, 2002, 6:40 a.m. CST
Cast Away. Think about it. He worked for FedEx, so how could he have morals? Secondly, he selfishly escaped from the island to throw himself back into Helen Hunt's life, knowing full well that she would be hooked up with someone else (come on, she's not going to have trouble finding a man). He was completely willing to ruin her marriage at the end of that movie, but she seemed a little to desperate, so he left her in the dust. Then, to top it all off, he totally ignores the hook up potential with the woman to whom he delivers his special package. This guy was confused from beginning to end in this movie. I'd say Hanks can pull of the morally ambiguous stuff pretty well. So, anyone have theories on the gay subtext of Top Gun? Does anyone remember the movie Talk Radio? Am I going off on tangents...?
July 5, 2002, 4:05 p.m. CST
Joe Pantoliano is the Vince Carter of actors- he hasn't quite proved himself at the highest levels yet, but you don't dare take your eyes off the guy for a second when he has the ball. Tom Hanks is more Keith van Horn.
July 5, 2002, 8:08 p.m. CST
by J Rex
vacume - NO vacuum - YES lacklustre - NO lackluster - YES melancholie - NO melancholy - YES Spelling lesson over.
July 5, 2002, 8:53 p.m. CST
by J Rex
Hey billz3bub, Tom Hanks character in Castaway was not a bad person to try and get his ex-fiance back. It was only 4 1/2 years. She waited 35 some years just to get engaged and then in the course of 4 years she waited for a search team, mourned the tragic death of her fiance, went through a grieving period, got engaged to someone else, got married, and had a baby. Why would he assume all that? I doubt she would have even been dating anyone else yet, let alone married.
July 5, 2002, 9:04 p.m. CST
by J Rex
They all won Oscars and that's about it. They have nothing else in common except that they are all good movies. These are the kind of movies Hollywood SHOULD be making. They're not the best movies of all time, but a lot of people thought they were really good.
July 5, 2002, 9:26 p.m. CST
I wonder if he had to look up the word "perdition," and, after reading the definition, decided to share it with the rest of us. Hopefully, though, he's more intelligent than that...
July 6, 2002, 7:36 a.m. CST
I can only agree, I loved this film, Sam Mendez is such an amazing restrained director. Not everything has to shoved in your face, not everything has to be explained to you. The assasination scenes (in the rain, in the street) is pure genius. with sound used to make the points you need. Jude Law could have taken his character on some wild trip, but he remained extremely loony and menacing with just a few looks and attitude. Tom Hanks actually worked well and hard, and will get another Oscar nomination for a extremely touching and human performance. But the real standout has to be Paul Newman who just shows why HE is Paul Newman. Such screen presence, such strength of character. Anyway i'm not much of a writer, I just want to make sure everyone goes to see this, and see what an inteligent , well written, acted and directed film is all about. Well up there with the Godfathers. Long live Sam Mendez Mickey.p
July 6, 2002, 9:19 p.m. CST
for years i thought i was the only person on the planet who had read the thing
July 7, 2002, 12:50 p.m. CST
July 7, 2002, 1:08 p.m. CST
I don't care what anyone says, tom hanks is the man, so what if he doesn't take roles in David Lynch films. He brings a very humane presence to his roles, unlike any other actor out there. This is exactly who the part of Micheal Sulivan needs. I mean The guy can make you feel sorry for him when he losses a vollyball for god's sake. Also seems dreamworks is right on the money hyping this one up. Small buzz to give it some credibility. No 30 second teaser trailers hyping the RTP acronym, coming in 8 months. This film will sneak up on everyone and donkey punch them right in the back of the head. Tom Hanks was the bomb is the burbs yo!
July 7, 2002, 4:55 p.m. CST
American Beauty is a classic movie hands down. Anyone who criticizes AB for being too farfetched and misrepresentative of "middle America" either doesn't live in "middle America" or is completley ignorant to what goes on around them. Obviously everything that happens in the film would never happen to one family; instead AB is a collection of problems which plague society and are shown through one family for dramatic affect...just like Forrest Gump in which history is retold through one man. I for one know for a fact that if all the blue-collared Americans with full dental coverage and 401k plans actually took a look into some of their neighbor's homes they'd see events very similar to those which occur in AB going on. AB is an educational piece used to pop the bubble encompassing the picture perfect world that the lucky few live in and expose them to the harsh realities of this country. Did Fight Club do that? Hell no. Fight Club was an amazing film as well but not worthy of topping AB at the Oscars and Three Kings wasn't in the same boat as either of them!I highly look forward to what Road to Perdition has to offer and if it is anything like American Beauty in terms of artistic creativity then it is deserving of the acclaim that moriaty is giving it. No AB isn't the best ever but it exectured the delivery of it's message masterfully and that's all a viewer can ask for.
July 7, 2002, 9:20 p.m. CST
"Overrated" is a an overused term. Why not just say, "I didn't like it?" Why is it necessary for people to imply that everybody else makes poor distinctions as to what a good film is, in order to feel comfortable voicing their opinion? Instead of writing to other people about how skewed their tastes are, I suggest you explain what bothered you. Of course, then, you run the risk of somebody explaining it to you in a way that changes your opinion, but that is the risk one takes in being rational.
July 8, 2002, 8 a.m. CST
isvglakj Nothing could really live up to the amount of praise that surrounds American Beauty. However, that doesn't change the fact that American Beauty is still a damn good movie. Sure, the script sucked, which is always bad news for a movie. But everything else worked so well that American Beauty still came out as an excellent film. I'm not sure I would say it was better than Fight Club. Fight Club showed the dark realities of American life even more effectively than American Beauty, by showing how the great American corporate machine ultimately leaves people dehumanized and emasculated, and can drive them to insane acts of destruction just to feel alive again. One more thing: To those who think the Sam Mendes owes the success of American Beauty to Conrad Hall and Kevin Spacey, I strongly suggest you check out his production of Cabaret (currently playing on Broadway). Mendes has PLENTY of creative vision. He shows a lot of that vision in American Beauty, too. Next time you watch the film, instead of jsut looking at the gorgeous cinematography, keep an eye out for the color red. The way it's repeatedly used as a symbol is brilliant.
July 8, 2002, 11:21 a.m. CST
Okay, sure, American Beauty is better than A Beautiful Mind, and it's better for two reasons: Conrad Hall and Kevin Spacey. Use of red for symbolism? Kind of typical chromatic symbolism...probably used to the most obvious yet powerful effect by Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers. I would have been more impressed if Sam Mendes had tried to make symbolic the color yellow. Now that would have been impressive. Really, the only thing that separates American Beauty's story from a slightly darker television dramedy is Conrad Hall and Kevin Spacey. I think Mendes shows promise, but more than half of American Beauty would have looked like another teen comedy if not for Conrad Hall. I do not hate American Beauty. I do think that Fight Club was better. Three Kings would have been better if it had had a much stronger ending. Same story for Being John Malkovich. I like American Beauty well enough. I just get bitter when I see the occasional hyperbolic comment stating American Beauty to be hands down one of the best films of all time or other such nonsense. Everyone has an opinion, but not all opinions are of equal value. I could have the opinion that the movie Armageddon has more artistic merit than Citizen Kane, but that would make me an idiot.
July 8, 2002, 1 p.m. CST
I'd like to add a few words to clear up the Lone Wolf and Cub connection as regards Road to Perdition. Max Collins' graphic novel is an acknowledged hommage to the series. It begins with a quote from Kazuo Koike (as does the paperback novelization of the film)-- and concerns an assassin and his son whose family has otherwise been wiped out. The similarities, however, pretty much end there. It is stretching things to say that Road to Perdition is "based on" Lone Wolf and Cub -- it's far more accurate to say it is inspired by the series. Collins was one of the first voices in the US (along with Frank Miller and li'l ol' me)calling for an American edition of Koike and Kojima's work (and we all had connections/influence at First Comics, whose translations unfortunately fell short of reprinting the entirety of the series). Collins is a fan of the comic book series as well as the films based upon it (he writes a regular column for Asian Cult Cinema -- and has covered the Lone Wolf/Baby Cart films therein). But Road to Perdition has a different plot, different character motivations and dynamics, a different setting -- and elements based on actual crime figures of the day. It's not a "rip off" of Kozure Okami/Lone Wolf -- but rather a love letter to it. If you are a Lone Wolf fan, I think you'll enjoy Max's tip of the snap-brim hat to Koike and Kojima -- and you certainly don't need to be offended or cry foul. Terry Beatty
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