"Shoot your murders like love scenes."Said by Alfred Hitchcock, quoted by Sam Mendes, and extremely relevant to the corruption of the 1930's, the dysfunction of father-son relationships, and the ruthless determination for retribution and revenge that is the basis for this iconic film The Road to Perdition.
The Road to Perdition explores several themes. The prominent theme is certainly revenge; Michael Sullivan wants revenge for the murder of his wife and son, Conner Rooney wants revenge on Michael Sullivan for the close relationship Michael shares with Conner's father, and Maguire wants revenge on Michael Sullivan for the injuries he gave him. The film also explores the very profound aspect of a man killing his father to protect his son. It is a unique combination of betrayal and loyalty, unseen before.
The relationships between characters explore love and respect, and the themes of redemption and regret are also introduced by Michael Sullivan.
Life and death are examined through the violent nature of the era, and the life the characters lead, and the story explores a post-modernist view that no one has control over their own fate. The film has a tragic, elegiac overtone throughout, captured brilliantly by Sam Mendes.
The film starts with a shot from the end of the story, and then presents the story as a flashback in linear order. The film is told from an omniscient point of view, apart from the narration at the start and end of the film by Michael Sullivan Jnr. The bookend scenes of the film give the story stability. They also show comparisons and changes in the characters. When Michael returns to the farm at then end, it justifies the film to the audience. After all this death and darkness, one thing will survive- Michael's innocence.
The film's language...