Sunday, January 9, 2011

Road to Perdition

I saw Road to Perdition with the aid of NetFlix and witnessed what turned out to be a significant disappointment. Director Sam Mendes seems to have spent an inordinate amount of time, energy and resources mounting the film and not enough time directing it. It has a an interesting look, particularly with its' near monochromatic hues and lighting that suggests the eye of a Dutch master, but this wears thin quickly as the plot and characterization fails to develop at either a credible pace or with interesting results.

There is nothing especially awful here, just stuff that is predictable, an offense made worse by sheer lethargy. Hanks does little more than grimace, Paul Newman, performing well in the first part of the film, has little to do afterwards except sit and stare into his lap with an old man's regret. Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Jason Leigh may as well be furniture here.

This was not  the best crime drama since "Godfather as a few critics I remember reading enthused.
Missing, of course, is the script that made the difference with Mendes’s' previous effort, American Beauty , which had an acutely sharp and cynical script from Alan Ball. Perdition is somewhat skeletal in what makes these characters tick, suitable for a graphic novel , yes,but still wanting for a movie. The plot here is adequate, I suppose, for the purposes of the graphic novel it's adapted from, but on screen, as is, the storyline is little more than a thin, cracking mortar between the cut stones of a huge mansion, ornate and impressive at first view, but revealing a crumbling structure the closer one gets into it.

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