Starring: Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Stanley Tucci, Daniel Craig Director: Sam Mendes Category: IIB Sam Mendes burst onto the cinema scene with the Oscar-winning American Beauty, a rich, probing reflection on American suburbanitis. But long before that, his reputation as a storyteller had been forged on the stages of the West End and Broadway. And he draws on that theatrical pedigree for Road To Perdition with finely staged set pieces and richly crafted settings. Mendes has produced a Depression-era landscape drenched with atmosphere and dripping with desperation in which Tom Hanks stars as Michael Sullivan, a hit man employed by rogue Irish-American mobster John Rooney (Paul Newman), who works under Chicago mob boss Al Capone. Rooney raised Sullivan as his own, but his real son, Connor (Daniel Craig), is living up to his reputation as a loose cannon. To the young members of his own family, Sullivan leads a seemingly ordinary life but events take a tragic turn after his son Michael Jnr (Tyler Hoechlin) stows away in his father's car to find out a bit more about dad's line of work. As events unfurl, Sullivan the hunter becomes Sullivan the hunted. Leading the chase is a grubby and bloodthirsty assassin named Maguire (Jude Law) and, abandoned by the mobsters, Sullivan must fight his way to safety - and revenge - with his son in tow. As always, there is much darkness behind Mendes' work. Nothing is black and white, more shades of grey. It is, for the most part, a rain-drenched world of shadow and light that cradles a tale of family ties, loyalty and deception. Hanks tends to let his slouches and sighs do the acting for him. It is a remarkable performance in that he holds so much back while cocking a weary eye on the world. Predictably, Newman dominates every scene he is in, such is his power and presence. Add to that a suitably sleazy Law and a marvellous cameo from the ever-reliable Stanley Tucci, and you have a remarkable film. We can only wait in anticipation for what Mendes comes up with next. Road To Perdition opens today.