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Tom Hanks, Jude Law, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Stanley Tucci

Directed by: Sam Mendes
Written by: David Self
Produced by: David Brown, Richard D Zanuck, Dean Zanuck
Distributor: DreamWorks SKG, 20th Century Fox

US: 12/07/02 UK: 20/08/02

In Depression-era Chicago, hit man Michael O'Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is known to friends and enemies alike as the "Angel of Death". Uncompromising in his work, O'Sullivan is equally devoted to his life as an upstanding husband and father of two young boys. But when those worlds collide, taking the lives of his wife and younger son, O'Sullivan and his surviving son leave their sedate home life behind and embark on a startling journey of revenge. .


Cincinnati Enquirer/ Chicago Sun -Times
Rolling Stone/ LA Times
New York Post / New York Times
People Magazine/ Washington Post

11 Feb/Moviebus: Road gets Oscar noms

Tom Hanks is on the road again

The Oscar-winning duo of director Mendes and cinematographer Conrad Hall (American Beauty) reteam for the film version of this dark, violent, sad and oddly affirming drama about fathers and sons. The central figure is Michael (Hanks), the favoured-son-like employee of 1931 Chicago gangster Rooney (Newman). But both of these men have sons who will set in motion a series of events that strain every lifelong bond. Michael's teen son (Hoechlin) witnesses a brutal and unnecessary assassination committed by Rooney's son (Craig), which forces Rooney to choose between his real and "adopted" sons. So Michael goes on the run with his son, trying to clean up the mess and stay one step ahead of a sneaky, ruthless hitman (Law).

This is blockbuster-as-art, A-list stars in a heavily male story told with a startling amount of sophistication and ingenuity. Every scene looks breathtaking--directed, lit, performed, edited and scored to perfection. And the period is suggested without the usual overt flashiness; shadowy colours and dark weather beautifully evoke the Great Depression. While the story itself is told in subtle shades of understatement that let the audience uncover layers of meaning. And there's a lot going on in here, especially in the complicated father-son relationships, with ideas and truths delicately revealed in the acting and filmmaking.

It's no surprise that the cast is astonishingly good, giving each scene extra emotional punch and helping us identify with a bunch of people who are, essentially, vicious thugs. The newcomer Hoechlin is the standout, capturing his role with a sophistication that hints at great things to come. If there's any complaint, it's that the whole film is almost too perfect. A few moments of offhanded humour are like a blast of fresh air into the otherwise sombre proceedings. There's also a general thinness to the plot itself that's only made up for in the richly textured themes and relationships, as well as the virtuoso filmmaking. Fortunately there's more than enough of that.



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