Sam Mendes film “Road to Perdition” is an excellent example of a journey, and takes Michael Sullivan Snr (Snr) and his son, Michael Sullivan Jnr (Jnr), on a journey. They both learn quite a lot, both about each other, and life itself. Jnr. Is the first of our travellers, and we are shown who is in the first scenes of the film. As the audience, we instantly compare him with his father. The comparison shows a few things. Apart from sharing a name, they are very similar, but they both hide illegal activity from each other (Jnr hides smoking and gambling, Snr hides his crime).
Despite this, they are also very different. This is shown in their conversations, which are both very formal in language, and limited. Jnr also starts the journey with his father as an unknown, but learns about his father through their experiences, and finally understands the father’s love for him. After seeing his father involved in the murder of Finn, he also learns of the life that his father leads.
He learns that the façade Snr puts on of being a good person is in fact not true, and is in fact a regular murderer.
Jnr becomes much closer to Snr over the course of the film, and this is shown a variety of ways. The most obvious is how they are positioned at the beginning of a scene. The first example of this is when Jnr goes to tell his father that dinner is ready, which he does from the end of the hallway, and the obvious physical distance is set up. This is shown progressing whenever the pair is in the car. Jnr starts distant, in the back seat, and eventually is in control when he is driving. This reaches its climax when the pair are shown hugging, emphasising their new connection.
The best evidence that Jnr learns to appreciate Snr over the course of the film is during the ending scene, where he grieves for the death of his father. It’s quite evident at the beginning of the film that Jnr couldn’t have cared less about his father, shown in the way he constantly lies to him, so it is definitely a different person that is grieving for their father at the end. His dialogue also advances from calling Snr ‘sir’ to calling him ‘pa. ’ Snr also learns much more about Jnr, and shows a desire to, demonstrated when he asks what subjects Jnr likes in school.
One of the main things that Snr learns is that he doesn’t need to shout at his son to keep in control of him, but they can talk to each other as equals. This evolution in their relationship is evident throughout the whole film, but is contrasted between when Snr gives Jnr the gun, and when Jnr is learning how to drive. Snr doesn’t shout, but instead issues calm instructions to his son. The respect that Snr has for Jnr also increases as the plot progresses, and Snr realises that he can achieve things by working with his son. This is shown when he is plotting to rob all the banks in Chicago and says to Jnr “…something I can’t do alone. Snr is recognising that Jnr is in fact not a burden, but a joy, in both what they can do together, and even their interactions. While they are sitting in a diner together, Jnr makes a joke, but Snr doesn’t tell him off. Instead, he lets it slide. He is learning that kids, like his son, make jokes like that. Snr also learns to listen, and this allows him to become a better parent. Snr also becomes much more open about his feelings toward Jnr as the film progresses. He does want the best for his son all the way through, but he is making a bigger effort in the latter half of the film.
Connor Rooney also represents what Snr doesn’t want Jnr to become when he grows up, showing that he cares about what Jnr does with his life. One of the biggest impacts of the journey on Jnr is the reality of guns. Previously, he had a very naive view of them, but didn’t realise the violence and pain that they can cause. He shows that he realises this multiple times. For example, when he is given a real gun for the first time, he pushes it away, after watching someone being shot. He also fails to pull the trigger when the assassin advances on him just after killing his father.
He also realises this after his brother and mother are killed. Jnr also learns to step back and assess people and their actions. This is shown all the way through the film, notably at the beginning and end, where he is reflecting on his father’s life. This also forces us to assess different people as well, especially John Rooney, who seems inviting and friendly at the beginning, but is in fact really a mass murderer. Family is another theme that is presented in this film, and Jnr learns to appreciate it much more over the course of his journey.
When he loses half of his family after they are murdered by Connor Rooney, he learns to appreciate his family, no matter how bad they are. He clings to the companionship of his father, which he would never have done previously. Road to Perdition is an excellent film, which has an engaging plot line and is a perfect example of a Journey text. The travellers both learn off each other, and they each play an important role in developing the other one. The level of detail in each character allows for an engaging film.
Cite this Road to Perdition: Reflection
Road to Perdition: Reflection. (2016, Oct 17). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/road-to-perdition-reflection/