AMERICAN BEAUTY is the very first movie I ever reviewed on this site, and if I had awarded stars back then, it would have been a 4 star flick for sure. Now director Sam Mendes is back with Road To Perdition, and although itís a long way from now til Oscar time, his name is likely to be called that night.

Any one who knows me knows that I hate "mob" movies. In fact, Iíve never seen the Godfather films and donít plan to any time soon. Still, I felt compelled to see this movie based on the actors, Tom Hanks and Jude Law specifically, and the director.
I also found it curious that this movie is based on a graphic novel by Max Allen Collins, which is basically the adult friendly term for comic book. But donít worry, it may be the summer of the SPIDER-MAN, but thereís a nary a spandex clad super-hero in the mix here. No, this film revolves around 1930ís Irish mafia, and more importantly, the love between a father and son.
Maybe itís a relatively simple story, but I found it engrossing and beautiful.
And in terms of visual story telling, stunningly breathtaking.

You have to marvel at Tom Hanks. His evolution as one of the premier actors in the world continues. To go from the humble beginnings of TVís Bosom Buddies, to the likes of Forrest Gump and Philadelphia, and now to this role as Michael Sullivan. Amazing. I dunno what else to say. Hanks can apparently do no wrong.

Paul Newman is considered a legend in Hollywood. Well, Iím not all that familiar with his work. In fact this may be the only film Iíve seen him in. But damn, heís good. Scary good. Just mail him his Oscar now. Itís his. No doubt. Hell, I can already see the five minute standing ovation nowÖ

Tom Hanks son in Road To Perdition is played by Tyler Hoechlin. Iíve never seen him before, but I think he did a great job. Heís subtle, charismatic, and definitely held his own with the likes of Hanks and Newman. Iím sure weíll be seeing more of this young man.

And then thereís Jude Law. Heís not in the movie all that much, but he steals every scene heís in. Here heís in rather unattractive make up, but thereís no disguising his talent. This is a great actor, in the second really great supporting role Iíve seen him in, the first being as "Gigolo Joe" in A.I. .

There are also smaller roles, all filled with talented actors like Stanley Tucci, Dylan Baker, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Daniel Craig. Basically all the acting is phenomenal.
But I think it was Mendesí storytelling that blew me away.
Itís beautiful and artistic, but not pretentious.
And though it has some blood (it is a mob piece after all), itís not overly violent. It does deserve itís R rating though, so itís not for the kiddies.
Road To Perdition is really great film making.