Road to Perdition 2002

Critics score:
81 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News: Newman gives a fierce, astonishing performance. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: Mendes knows his way around a gangster movie, resurrecting the genre by grafting it to a Western's confrontational landscape. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Mendes ... proves that American Beauty was no fluke, only the first stop on a cinematic journey of intelligent entertainment that should involve us for years to come. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Its subject matter may be grim, but the film itself is exhilarating. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: [A] solid strong piece of work. Read more

Susan Stark, Detroit News: In an era of cinematic hyperbole, it is as impressive for its reticence as for its resonance. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: A rare recent example of a big-budget Hollywood studio movie made with self-conscious artistry and ambition. Read more

Stephen Holden, New York Times: It inspires a continuing and deeply satisfying awareness of the best movies as monumental 'picture shows.' Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: Sam Mendes's 2002 follow-up to American Beauty finds him every bit as adept, arty, and Oscar hungry. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: What makes the movie pay off is moving pictures of real action and of intimate scenes between man and boy that are all the more moving for being understated. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: It's a film at times so visually beautiful, thanks to master cinematographer Conrad L. Hall, that it takes your breath away. Read more

Mike Clark, USA Today: So is Perdition still a must-see? No question. But it's tough to fuss about it much when a picture is this fussy. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: You can almost see Mendes and company getting together before a single frame had been shot and collectively vowing, 'This is going to be something really good.' And it is. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: This is classic albeit somber filmmaking, restrained and all of a piece, by a director who believes film can tell adult stories in an adult manner, who knows the effects he wants and how to get them. Read more

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle: The most brilliant work in this genre since the 1984 uncut version of Sergio Leone's flawed but staggering Once Upon a Time in America. Read more

Paul Clinton (, Feels strangely hollow at its emotional core. Read more

Steven Rosen, Denver Post: It is an impressive accomplishment on its own artful terms, with strong performances by Hanks, Newman, Jude Law, Stanley Tucci and others elevating it above an exercise in style. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: There's much that's simplistically touching, optimistic, and appealing in the filial trend, just as there's much that's simplistically grand, worthy, and fine in Perdition. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: For its textured visual detail, casting and snaking narrative, The Road to Perdition is a trip worth taking, though the recommendation comes with reservations. Read more

Philip Wuntch, Dallas Morning News: Suspenseful, riveting, poignant and haunting. Read more

Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly: For all the formal sophistication, there's something facile and nerveless about Mendes' work, and, in the trickery of the movie's final scenes, jarringly facetious, and sentimental to boot. Read more

Jan Stuart, Newsday: A gorgeous eyeful and earful of a gangster drama. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: Visually, the picture is all of a piece, but it's a self-conscious piece of work -- all dark-toned academic classicism. Read more

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture: The pulp shows clearly through the high-art preening: It isn't prominent enough to be fun, and the art, with few exceptions, isn't high enough to justify all the moody-blues meaningfulness. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: A rare and exemplary work of artistry and humanity that makes you think while it unfolds like the haunting pages of a novel you never want to end. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: Pretentious, portentous and humorless. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Serious movie-goers embarking upon this journey will find that The Road to Perdition leads to a satisfying destination. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: After I saw Road to Perdition, I knew I admired it, but I didn't know if I liked it. I am still not sure. It is cold and holds us outside. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Neither a good Paul Newman nor a bad Tom Hanks can save this dreary art-house flick from the airless grip of American Beauty director Sam Mendes. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Directed by Sam Mendes, this movie might not be as flashy as his Oscar-winning American Beauty, but it's a smarter film, more mature and emotionally honest. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: If you accept Road To Perdition on its own terms, as a kind of gangster opera that unfolds with a measured mythical grace, you quickly forgive the fact you're taking the road much travelled. Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out: Ploughing a furrowed brow, Hanks is fatally miscast -- except that the story turns so sentimental and bathetic, he's actually in his element. Read more

Mike D'Angelo, Time Out: A crackerjack yarn delivered with more than enough conviction and panache to compensate for the occasional fit of self-importance. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: While crisply edited and unindulgent, Mendes' work is gratifyingly old-school in its rejection of modern-day stylistic agitation, the better to achieve a slow but inexorable build to its climax. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: Mendes still doesn't quite know how to fill a frame. Like the Hanks character, he's a slow study: The action is stilted and the tabloid energy embalmed. Read more