No, it’s neither new nor classic as it was made in 2002. Road to Perdition is a dark period piece set during the Great Depression about gangsters. Paul Newman, Tom Hanks, and Stanley Tucci are the big names. It is a violent, tragic movie and having Tom Hanks play the role of a killer for mob boss Paul Newman is not the norm for either of them. The acting, however, is masterful and the manner in which the movie is filmed. I am not a student of cinematography and am not certain of the proper terms to use.
In the final phases, there is one incredibly powerful scene between Newman and Hanks and then two scenes that take approximately five minutes where there are only four lines of dialogue. The expressions from the veteran actors and actions tell the story in a taut way. The remaining part of the movie contains a final tragedy and from a philosophical perspective the question remains as to, “Can a man who undeniably does wrong still be a good man?” The other underlying question is, “How much is a man shaped by his circumstances?”
It is similar in tone to LA Confidential if you’re familiar with that one. While I prefer Newman and Hanks to play good guys – or at least not criminals – I could see the appeal of this movie and the roles for actors who wanted to portray complexity. Even though it was violent, it was not marred by graphic violence which I find to be utterly unnecessary. Definitely not something to watch if you’re looking for light entertainment, but well worth it if what you want is a well-crafted movie from all aspects.