Paul Newman and Tom Hanks in Road to Perdition

My Favorite Scene: Road to Perdition (2002) “Only Murderers in this Room!”

Road to Perdition is one of my favorite films, period.  It’s also one of the most criminally underrated and overlooked films of all-time and Paul Newman’s last performance in his peerless career.  To give context to those who may have not seen the film (and it’s worth buying because you’ll watch it again and again; perhaps even with the sound off just to marvel at the best cinematography I’ve ever seen in a motion picture) this is a quiet scene.  My favorite scenes in movies tend to be ones between two characters, beautifully written, paid for-and given extra weight by-the bigger and louder scenes that surround it.  Perdition is about a mob hit man (Hanks) who goes on the run from the mob boss who raised him (Newman) after the hit man’s young son witnesses one of his assassinations.  After gunfire, chases, and chaos, Hanks slips into Newman’s church and asks to talk one last time.  This is their conversation.  Not only is it beautifully dialogue brilliantly delivered, it is, in a larger sense, a passing of the torch.  Newman, the greatest actor of his lifetime, passing the torch to Hanks, arguably the greatest of his.  It is the pivot point in a film about fathers and sons, to watch this foster father send away his preferred child in favor of his biological one.  Both know the next time they see each other, one is going to die.  Scenes simply don’t get better than this.
Road to Perdition Movie Poster

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