Road to Perdition
Director: Sam Mendes
Producer: Sam Mendes
Dean Zanuck
Richard D. Zanuck
Writer(s): David Self
Release Date: July 12, 2002
Running Time: 117 mins
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Road to Perdition is a 2002 film about a mob hitman and his son on the run from his boss.


Michael Sullivan, Sr. is a mob enforcer for John Rooney, an Irish mob boss in Illinois during the Great Depression and Al Capone era. Rooney raised Sullivan, an orphan, and loves him as a son; more so, in fact, than his real son, the ruthless, unstable Connor (Daniel Craig). Sullivan and Connor go to a warehouse for a meeting with Finn McGovern, a disgruntled employee. Twelve-year-old Michael Sullivan, Jr. hides in his father's car and witnesses Connor kill McGovern in a fit of rage. Sullivan swears his son to secrecy, but Connor decides to hush these witnesses forever. He murders Sullivan's wife Annie and the couple's younger son Peter, mistakenly thinking he has murdered young Michael. Sullivan and his remaining son flee to Chicago.

Sullivan requests a job with Capone's mob. He asks permission of crime kingpin Frank Nitti to seek revenge on Connor, who has been sent into hiding. The offer is rejected. Rooney is aware of the meeting and allows Nitti to dispatch assassin Harlen Maguire to kill Sullivan. Maguire, a psychopathic crime-scene photographer who likes to photograph his victims, tracks Sullivan and son to a roadside diner but misses a chance to make the hit. Knowing now that Nitti has sided against him, Sullivan begins robbing the banks that hold the Capone and Rooney syndicate's laundered money, hoping to trade it for Connor. Michael Jr. drives the getaway car at the holdups.

Maguire sets a trap with the aid of Rooney's accountant, Alexander Rance. On the day Sullivan comes to Rance's hotel room, Rance stalls him until Maguire can arrive. Rance is killed in the crossfire of the ensuing gunfight. Maguire is injured, his face peppered with fragments of glass, though he manages to shoot the escaping Sullivan in the arm.

Michael drives his father to a farm where a childless elderly couple helps Sullivan to recover. During his recuperation, Sullivan discovers (in ledgers taken from Rance) that Connor has been embezzling from his father for years, using the names of dead gang members to hide his activities. As the Sullivans depart, they give the couple much of the remaining money from the bank robberies.

Rooney is surprised by Sullivan while attending Mass. He acknowledges that he already knows about the embezzlement and that this must end with Connor's death, but still refuses to be the one to give up his son. That night, cloaked by darkness and a driving rain, Sullivan dispatches Rooney's entire entourage with his Thompson submachine gun and then walks up to Rooney himself, who says "I'm glad it's you". With tears in his eyes, Sullivan pulls the trigger. Seeing no further reason to protect Connor now that Rooney is dead, Nitti reveals his location to Sullivan, making him promise that this will be the end. Sullivan goes to the hotel where Connor is hiding and kills him to complete his full circle of revenge.

Sullivan decides to drive Michael Jr. to a relative's beach house in Perdition, a town on the shore of Lake Michigan. Here he is ambushed and shot by a disfigured Maguire, who has survived the hotel shootout. Michael Jr. shows up and points a gun at Maguire, but cannot bring himself to fire. The standoff ends when Sullivan draws a hidden gun and kills Maguire before dying in his son's arms. Mourning his father's death, Michael Jr. finds his way back to the elderly farm couple that looked after them. In Michael Jr.'s closing voice-over, he states: 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.

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Road to Perdition (2002) - Trailer


The film was shot in Zeeland, Michigan and parts of Illinois.

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