Cinema, short for cinematography, is often used to refer to the industry of films and filmmaking or to the art of filmmaking itself. The contemporary definition of cinema is the art of simulating experiences to communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty or atmosphere.
Road to Perdition tells the story of a father and son on the run from an eccentric killer with a morbid hobby:
he takes photographs of his murdered.
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. Sam 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.
|Road to Perdition|
|Directed by||Sam Mendes|
|Screenplay by||David Self|
|Based on||Road to Perdition|
by Max Allan Collins
Richard Piers Rayner
|Music by||Thomas Newman|
|Cinematography||Conrad L. Hall|
|Edited by||Jill Bilcock|
The Zanuck Company
|Box office||$181 million|
Road to Perdition
Maguire’s crime scene photography work is based on ‘Arthur ‘Weegee’ Fellig’, a famous crime-scene photographer in the 1920s and 1930s who was licensed to possess a “scanner” radio that allowed him to listen to frequencies used by the police and fire departments. This enabled him to arrive (by car) at crime and fire scenes, sometimes before the authorities did, as if informed by telepathic powers, to which his nickname, a corruption of “Ouija”, alludes. He sold his photos to the tabloid newspapers. The photos in Maguire’s apartment are real 1930s crime scene photos, some of which were taken by Weegee himself.
Road to Perdition
The film’s title, Road to Perdition, is both Michael Sullivan and his son’s destination town and a euphemism for Hell, a road that Sullivan desires to prevent his son from traveling. Sullivan, who chooses his violent path early on in life, considers himself irredeemable and seeks to save his son from a similar fate. Said Mendes, “[Sullivan] is in a battle for the soul of his son. Can a man who has led a bad life achieve redemption through his child?”
Hanks described his character as a man who achieved a comfortable status through violent means, whose likely repercussions he ignored. When Sullivan is faced with the consequences, Hanks says, “At the moment we’re dropped into the story, it is literally the last day of that false perspective.”
To keep Hanks’ character from justifying his violent actions in the film, Mendes omitted scenes in the final cut that had Sullivan explaining his background to his son.