Tom Hanks was praised heavily for playing a grim, hardened figure -- a far cry from his memorable performances in Big, Forrest Gump, etc. Paul Newman returned to the screen after a short absence, and was nominated for the 2002 Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, but lost to Chris Cooper.
The eccentric may comprehend the standards for normal behavior in his culture, or he may not. He is simply unconcerned by society's disapproval of his habits or beliefs. Many of history's most brilliant minds have displayed many unusual behaviors and habits.
Filming took place in the Chicago area. Mendes, having recently finished 1999's acclaimed American Beauty, pursued a story that had minimal dialogue and conveyed emotion in the imagery. Cinematographer Conrad L. Hall took advantage of the environment to create symbolism for the film, for which he won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. The film explores several themes, including the consequence of violence and father-son relationships.
The film was released on July 12, 2002 and eventually grossed over $180 million worldwide. The cinematography, setting, and the lead performances by Newman (in his final theatrical screen appearance) and Hanks were well-received by critics. A home media release first debuted on February 25, 2003.
I saw then that my father's only fear was that his son would follow the same road. And that was the last time I ever held a gun. People always thought I grew up on a farm. And I guess, in a way, I did. But I lived a lifetime before that, in those six weeks on the road in the winter of 1931. When people ask me if Michael Sullivan was a good man, or if there was just no good in him at all, I always give the same answer. I just tell them... he was my father.
Michael Sullivan, Jr.