“ROAD TO PERDITION”
NUTSHELL RECAP: “Avenue to Ennui”
Wow did I come out the theater wondering if I missed something. I mean it seems every critic is raving about how monumental this film is, how Tom Hanks should get another Oscar, and that Sam Mendes of “American Beauty” fame has created another masterpiece. From the opening scene in the snow, the ice was never broken. I’m sorry Tom, but you just aren’t a cold-blooded killer, even with the mustache. The acting was dead flat, deliberate, with lines delivered like pizza – cold when it gets there. No one cracked the surface of his or her character to give us any depth. [Retraction: There was ONE scene where Hanks yanks the leash in on his son telling him to take his gun. For a brief second he showed something more than monotones.]
Jude Law appears disguised in rotten teeth and plucked scalp which is essentially all anyone comments about his role. Leads you think maybe his character was made of cardboard, too? Well, he does a neat coin-over-the-fingers bit – IN OUR FACE. That gives him depth, doesn’t it? I don’t think he’s too happy about the results. He’s too good an actor.
Paul Newman is like your oldest pair of slippers – comfortable as hell, but wearing a bit thin. He handles his part with the ease of a master, but that’s all Mendes has him do. In one confrontational scene with Hanks, you see a glimpse of the old fire.
On the tech side, the Cine was superb, the Art Direction immaculate (although one CAN stuff one too many period props onto a kitchen table) and the Sound was especially effective. The effects boys know how to turn up the volume on a Tommy gun – not gratuitously, but in context to what was happening. I liked that.
Bottom Line – I’m just disappointed that this film was glazed-over job, where I was looking through the window and not allowed inside – unless of course, I missed something.