10 July 2012

Hit Me With Your Best Shot -- Road to Perdition

Adding my two cents (if it's even that much) to The Film Experience's ongoing Hit Me With Your Best Shot series.  This week's film is Road to Perdition, one of my top favorite films.  Without further stalling...

Meet Maguire
 This is the last shot of Harlen Maguire's introductory scene.  I was going to choose the vertigo shot with him under the bridge, but this one has more resonance in the film as every violent action involving Maguire includes windows.  Still not sure on the significance of that, but it's there -- this scene in the apartment, at the diner, in the hotel/street, and at the lake house. 

Another reason I love this shot is that it mirrors Mike Sullivan's final scene:  the dusty light sweeping in the windows, the camera, the rush of the train and water, someone leaning over a dead/dying man... 

And finally, you could easily take any shot/frame from this film and it'd be worthy of discussion and admiration.  Conrad Hall was a master of photography and his collaborations with Sam Mendes will stand the test of time as examples of how to shoot a movie.  American Beauty was gorgeous, but the palette was expanded with Road to Perdition.

The whole film is poetry in motion.


  1. Nice catch on the windows. And I'm head over heels in love with how low the camera has been set, putting us right on the level of the dying man. Great choice!

  2. Thanks for joining in! I think every scene with Maguire has brilliant composition and i love your point about windows which I hadn't thought of but I suppose it's thematically connected to looking and he *is* a photographer.

    my favorite shot of him is where he's sitting on the left side of the frame and there's a whole wall full of photographs of his dead people photography (his trophies as it were) to the right.

  3. Excellent choice. You've really got me thinking about the windows, I wonder if it's something to do with the idea that God is watching his actions/ he is being observed by a higher power who sees his sins even as they are being done?