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John Drew

Road to Perdition/Road to Purgatory

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I was kind of surprised that there wasn't a thread already devoted to Road to Perdition. Thought I'd start one when I saw this story at Variety about the followup graphic novel Road to Purgatory being shopped around as a lower budget ($20 million range), independet sequel.

I liked the first film, but, like Roger Ebert, felt that the outcome was preordained by the title, and therefore didn't offer  as much suspense as I would have liked, unlike other gangster masterpieces like The Godfather or Miller's Crossing. The setting was great, for the most part. I did feel that the Chicago cityscape was rendered a little too cleanly, especially for a depression era film. But perhaps that was what director Mendes was going for, since it was being seen through the eyes of Tom Hank's son, and the newness of that first sight might cloud the realism of the actual place. The performances were good, overall, especially Paul Newman. Hank's took some time getting used to in his role, and remained a fairly emotionally distant character as far as I was concerned.

Like to hear some other views of this. Perhaps I'll go back and watch this a second time as well.

Edited by John Drew

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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I think we had one on it on the old board FWIW. Newman's last great performance. Interesting early role for Daniel Craig. And Hanks playing against type. Looks great and evokes a wonderful atmosphere. I know it's not everyone's favourite, but I still can't help liking it.

Matt

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I mentioned this at my blog last Tuesday. There are actually TWO sequels in the works: The Road to Purgatory and The Road to Paradise.

What makes this interesting is that both films appear to be based on novels which were, it seems, sequels to the MOVIE version of The Road to Perdition, but not to the GRAPHIC NOVEL version of The Road to Perdition. And what makes this even MORE interesting is that all the novels and graphic novels -- including the "novelization" of the original film -- were written by Max Allan Collins, who is also slated to direct the film versions of the sequels.

Is that too complicated? Okay, here's a chronological breakdown:

What makes this all even MORE interesting is that the original graphic novel ended with a coda which reveals that Michael Sullivan Jr. has grown up to become a priest, possibly as a form of penance or atoning for his father's sins. But the Amazon.com synopses for the sequels indicate that the grown-up Jr. seems to follow a very different path in these books. Yet all of these stories are written by the same author. Interesting, no?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I read the synopses of the sequels, and they seem derivative of a lot of other classic crime fare ranging from The Godfather to The Untouchables. I liked the original film, but the plot outlines that these sequels would apparently follow don't strike me as original or noteworthy.


-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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Max Allan Collins now says he probably won't direct Road to Purgatory, but "We seem to be right on the brink, or maybe it's the precipice, I don't know (Laughs), of a deal being signed. Things have gotten very, very serious".


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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For those who might be interested, I recently posted some thoughts on this film as part of a project where I re-visit some films as they reach their tenth anniversary.posted some thoughts

on this film as part of a project where I re-visit some films as they reach their tenth anniversary.

Road to Perdition received one Academy Award, for Best Cinematography. That honor went to Conrad L. Hall, who also worked with director Sam Mendes on American Beauty and was similarly awarded for that film. (Hall’s third career Oscar was for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.) I have never been a fan ofAmerican Beauty, but in retrospect, I realized how many of my friends who esteem the film do so because of the cinematography. It is worth speculating about how much Mendes’s career arc coming back to earth a bit has to do with the loss of a valuable colleague and collaborator. (Hall died in 2003.) That’s not to imply that a director’s only job or achievement is coordinating with the cinematographer. No matter what side of the auteur theory debate you come down on, though, it is easy to see how adjusting to a new team is a very real issue.

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I appreciate the speculative value you place on cinematography, Ken, but I immediately thought of Mendes' Revolutionary Road, and how potent my response was to THAT film in large part due to Roger Deakins' cinematography!

Not that everyone agreed with me, of course. I imagine many, maybe most, critics would see Road as an example of Mendes "coming back down to earth."


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Yes. I didn't much care for the film, but all these years later, the one thing that stands out in my memory is the look of Jarhead.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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If it can be said that Mendes had a period where he "came back to earth a bit," it's surely over now. Just take a look at the SKYFALL trailer.

But I'm not sure it is altogether fair to connect the departure of Hall with any "return to earth" for Mendes. As Christian notes, JARHEAD's visual aesthetic was its most commendable aspect.

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