Sam Mendes became one of the hottest directors to take on James Bond, he cut his teeth on gritty dramas, with a sprinkling of action. Road to Pedition is set in the early 20th century at the time crime bosses ran the cities. The story (loosely based on the real life mobster) evolves around the inner circle of mob boss John Rooney (Paul Newman) whose solid right hand hit man, Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) goes on the run to protect his family when his young son witnesses a hit.
Newman plays the perfect patriarch, in his last full feature role, conflicted with the business to which he runs and the moral boundaries he sets to live by, trying to walk that fine line between real family and those that have earned the right to be blood through their continued dedication and loyalty. In the end however, real blood is thicker.
Hanks, as usual, puts in a stellar performance but this role doesn’t feel natural for him. This is a bad man. He does bad things. Yet he comes home to his family in the evening and pretends everything is normal. His wife,
Jennifer Jason Leigh, is fully aware of his real job, but she too puts on the fact face for the sake of the children. This is not the good-guy role that Hanks comfortably wraps himself within and it shows that this is not a natural state for him.
This movie is laced with big names, including Mr James Bond himself Daniel Craig,
Stanley Tucci and a very young
Jude Law. Though he wasn’t that young when he starred in this movie, he still looks very fresh faced playing the crime scene photographer with a sinister side (again based on a real life character).
The movie did very well in the box office, from a $80M budget taking ultimately $180M world wide. The budget was very large for the time, considering there wasn’t that much special effects or big stunts. However, when you just take in the beautiful sets, you can see where the money was spent recreating the 1930s.
For its fantastic cast, the movie plods along with a predictability that any seasoned movie fan will be able to spot without any effort.
Worthy of a watch if only to see how well Hanks, Craig and Newman play together in a scene.
Friday, 18th September 2015