"There is only one guarantee — none of us will see heaven."
A 2002 film, directed by Sam Mendes, based on a comic of the same name (itself inspired by the manga Lone Wolf and Cub). Mobster Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks), and his son who followed him to work, witness the mob boss (Paul Newman)'s son Connor (Daniel Craig) shoot a fellow employee (Ciarán Hinds) for embezzling fromThe Syndicate.Connor tries to kill the witnesses off, but botches the job and ends up killing Mike's wife and younger son. Expecting revenge, the mob takes out a Contract on the Hitman and Sullivan and Michael go on the run, pursued by a chillingly psychopathic assassin, Maguire (Jude Law). Also starring Stanley Tucci as Frank Nitti, a real-life major figure in the Al Capone organization.The film deals largely with father-and-son relationships — both the protagonists and the villain of the movie have deep issues with paternal favoritism and respect. Whereas Connor forces his father to try to protect him at the cost of a man he clearly loves as a son, Michael becomes determined that his only surviving child will not become like him.
Adaptation Distillation: The comic's author himself approves of many of the changes, like having the Sullivans contend with a single assassin instead of various random Mooks, with the exception of the slightly more upbeat ending. The book is mostly a grim, pulpy odyssey of stylishly bloody death, the film has a more serene tone with violence kept to a minimum.
Concealment Equals Cover: Subverted. Rance runs away and disappears behind a wall when the gunfight between Sullivan and Maguire breaks out, but the pellets from Maguire's shotgun easily penetrated the plaster wall and killed him anyway.
Dragon Their Feet: After the protagonist kills the entire Rooney crime family, Psycho for Hire Maguire still shows up at the end and kills him, despite the fact the people who were paying Maguire were already all dead, because...
It's Personal — Michael gave him a face full of glass and permanent scarring.
Depth Deception: Michael Jr. approaches the front door of his house, seeing Connor approaching after he has killed his mother and brother, and freezes when Connor appears to stare directly at him through the door's window, but it turns out Connor was actually looking at his own reflection. After Michael realizes this, he has time to hide before Connor leaves the house.
Epunymous Title: Michael is on the way to irrevocably dooming his soul to hell... but he's also driving to a town called Perdition.
Friendly Enemy: Michael and the elder Rooney. To an extent, this is also true of Michael and the Capone organization, whose money he keeps stealing from banks, but they (or at least, Nitti) completely understand why he's doing what he's doing, and would sort of like to be on his side.
In the film, John Rooney clearly favors Michael over his own son, Connor, which gives Connor a serious complex and only makes him even more of a screw-up. When called upon to choose between them, however, John chooses blood, largely out of guilt for not being a better father to Connor.
Please Shoot the Messenger: Sullivan first discovers the plot against him when a message he delivers for Rooney (actually from Connor) tells the recipient to kill him.
Robbing The Mob Bank: Michael's plan to avenge his family involves robbing banks of the off-the-books money they hold for Rooney and Capone in an effort to get Capone to turn over Connor, the murderer in question.
Rule of Symbolism: Mendes deliberately wrote every death to be near or surrounded by water to demonstrate the commonness (and uncontrollability) of death in the mobster's lives.
The Scream: We never see Michael Jr's reaction to finding his mother and brother's bodies. When his father finds them, we hear his muffled Big "NO!" from the other room, with the camera on Jr. staring silently at nothing.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After the death of John Rooney, Nitti no longer has a reason to protect Connor, and actually wants him dead because Connor is an idiot and would be a total liability once he inherited his father's legacy. Nitti decides to kill two birds with one stone and buys peace with Michael by no longer protecting Connor; when Michael shows up at Connor's hotel room to kill him, Nitti's goons open the door for him.
In the comic, however, Michael Jr. averts this; killing at least two of the mooks that come after them.
Too Much Alike: The reason for Sullivan's distant relationship with Michael, Jr.
Ultimate Evil: Capone is deliberately kept off-camera to evoke a greater sense of mystery. A scene with him was filmed, but was left out of the final cut, despite the director admitting he loved the performance.
Uriah Gambit: Connor sets up Sullivan to be killed this way.
Vertigo Effect: Jude Law's character first appears walking toward the camera underneath an L track. It takes about thirty-plus seconds of screen time, whereas the typical Vertigo shot is much more fast-moving.
Very Loosely Based on a True Story: There was a Rock Island, Illinois gangster by the name of John Patrick Looney. He betrayed a formerly loyal lieutenant of his, the resulting feud led to the death of his son, and he was eventually arrested for the murder of a lawyer named William Gabel.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Connor Rooney in the movie. In the comic, however, none of his angst (nor his father's favoritism towards Michael Sr.) is even hinted at (his motives for doing what he does are out of bloodlust and paranoia rather than out of envy).
Also Sullivan himself towards Michael Jr.; not only does he struggle to connect with his son, but Sullivan later admits he's had mixed feelings as Jr. reminds him of himself.