The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and there are too many here for a film which fancies itself hard-boiled. Michael Sullivan (Hanks) is right-hand man to Mr Rooney (Newman), and Rooney is the nearest thing to a God young Mike Jr (Hoechlin) has ever seen. But when he spies on his pop at work, he's in for a shock. Sullivan is an enforcer, a hitman for the Mob. Worse, Jr gives himself away - which makes him a witness, a danger not only to his father, but to Dad's ruthless partner in crime Connor Rooney (Craig). Anyone with a fondness for gangsters will find quite a bit to admire, even to savour, in Mendes' second movie. Shot with the same sense of occasion cinematographer Conrad Hall brought to American Beauty, it is never less than handsomely upholstered, the sort of picture which virtually demands a gilt frame. Based on a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins, the terminally self-conscious Perdition sorely lacks mischief - save for a scene stealing performance from
, wonderful as a whacked Weegee-style photographer. He alone realises the material remains fundamentally comic strip, a two-dimensional child's eye pastiche of classic gangster movies. Ploughing a furrowed brow, Hanks is fatally miscast - except that the story turns so sentimental and bathetic, he's actually in his element.
Cast and crew
Jennifer Jason Leigh