🎥🍣 Movie Sushi — Road to Perdition

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6 min readMar 28, 2021

When Michael Sullivan Jr gets home from his paper round, he has a brief snowball fight with his brother, Peter Sullivan. He struggles with his maths homework, unlike Peter. He gets his father, Michael Sullivan Sr — wearing a gun belt — for dinner. They say grace before eating.

Sullivan drives Michael and Peter to the wake for Danny McGovern. Michael sees the coins on the dead man’s eyes. John Rooney welcomes Michael and Peter with hugs, then they play craps together.

Downstairs, they remember Danny playing football where he once accidentally tackled his own quarterback. The toast is: let’s hope he gets to heaven at least an hour before the Devil knows he’s dead.

Then, the deceased’s brother, Finn, gives a speech, calling Danny loyal, brave and honest. Thanks to Mr Rooney, their generous host. In all the years of working for John Rooney, he’s come to realise that he’s much like a god — giving and taking away. Sullivan leads Finn away before he reveals too many sins. After some vibrant Irish dancing, Rooney starts softly playing piano. The whole room falls silent. Sullivan joins in playing at the piano. Peter asks John’s son, Connor Rooney, why he’s always smiling. Connor replies because it’s all so effing hysterical.

Later, Peter tells his brother Michael he had a nightmare about Rooney’s house. Peter wants to know their dad’s job. Michael says he goes on missions for Mr Rooney, that’s why he brings his gun.

Sullivan must work that night. He gets his car from the garage and gets Connor. Michael hides in the boot of the car. When they park, Michael waits. He sneaks up to the warehouse to see what’s going on. He watches as Connor shoots Finn McGovern in the head, then Sullivan kills Finn’s bodyguard. No-one can believe what just happened.

Michael is soon found. Sullivan asks his son if he’s alright and tells him not to tell anyone about the killings. When Connor asks if he can be trusted, Sullivan explains that Michael’s his son. Sullivan reminds Michael that when they had nothing, Rooney gave them a home.

At breakfast, Michael is in a sullen mood, not wanting to clear his plate. Sullivan tells his wife that Michael was hiding in the car the previous night. When Mr Rooney appears, Michael runs up to him fondly. Rooney says that a man of honour always pays his debts and keeps his word, and gives Michael a silver dollar. Rooney says it’s natural law that sons trouble their fathers.

Sullivan is told to visit Tony Calvino, a speakeasy owner who owes Rooney money. For safety’s sake, Tony Calvino requests that his bouncer remains in the office with them. Sullivan hands Calvino a sealed note. Calvino reads the note in silence. After a long pause, Sullivan executes Calvino and the bouncer.

The note reads: “Kill Sullivan and all debts are paid”. Sullivan immediately tries to call his family. His wife and son Peter are killed as young Michael arrives by bike, late because of a detention he earned by scrapping at school. He hides when he sees Connor leaving.

Michael goes upstairs. Sullivan arrives by car, sees Michael and joins him. Sullivan goes upstairs himself and cries out when he sees his wife and younger son dead. Sullivan is slumped in the corridor. Rooney attacks Connor and starts cursing him. When Connor starts crying, Rooney hugs him instead.

Sullivan says to Michael that this house is no longer their home, it’s just an empty building. They drive away. Sullivan has a stop to make. He tells his son, if he doesn’t return, to go straight to the First Methodist Church — but not Father Calloway. He collects $25,000 from Kelly, with more there if he wants it. Kelly suggests Sullivan runs off to Ireland, where he still has friends. Sullivan asks where Connor’s hiding, gets no reply, and puts a bullet in Kelly’s head.

In Chicago, there’s a large roomful of people all reading broadsheet newspapers. Sullivan leaves Michael here and goes further into the building. After having been frisked, Sullivan gets into a private elevator.

Michael cries quietly downstairs while he waits. Sullivan respectfully tells Mr Nitti he wants to work for Al Capone, in return for them turning a blind eye to him killing Connor, for murdering his family. Mr Nitti says it’s impossible. If Sullivan really wanted to open that door, he’d find himself completely alone, and with the protection of no-one. Nitti suggests Sullivan goes back home and buries his wife and child. Rooney and Connor are listening, right there in the next room.

Rooney now must have Sullivan killed. Nitti suggests a gifted hitman called Maguire, who’s a crime scene photographer by day. Maguire takes a call from Mr Nitti. He says his rate is $1,600 plus he keeps anything he makes from the photos. He tells Nitti he’s never met Michael Sullivan Sr but he knows his work. He’s told a twelve year old boy must also be killed.

At Peter & Mrs Sullivan’s funeral, Rooney mourns. Maguire is also present. In a church, Sullivan prays among candles. He calls Sarah. She’ll be home in two days. Afterwards, McGuire goes to the phone Sarah used. He asks the operator to be reconnected and gets Sullivan’s location.

Sullivan stops at a diner. Maguire sees him sitting alone inside. Maguire goes in and orders. The two men chat. Maguire declines alcohol and says he’s a photographer who shoots dead bodies.

Sullivan sneaks out through the bathroom and drives away with Michael. Maguire shoots at their car and at a random cop. Sullivan reprimands Michael because he wouldn’t duck down fast enough. Going to Aunt Sarah’s is now out.

Sullivan must make Capone give up Connor, and so decides to steal from the Chicago mob. He knows they keep dirty money in banks all over. Sullivan gives Michael a crash course in how to drive so he can be getaway driver.

Sullivan speaks with the first bank manager saying he only wants money he’s holding for Capone. Sullivan freely gives his full name, then leaves the manager some of the cash. Sullivan and son repaint the car to stay ahead of the authorities. Capone starts removing money from accounts, preparing for the robberies.

Sullivan now heads straight for Rooney’s accountant. Michael knows to sound the horn twice if there’s danger. Sullivan enters Mr Rance’s hotel room, holding him at gunpoint. He wants financial files. Maguire across the street sees the activity and heads over. Michael sees Maguire and sounds the horn. Sadly, the noise of the Wall Street ticker machine in the room is too loud. Rance stalls, fumbling with different keys.

Maguire bursts in shooting and, soon, Rance is dead. Himself injured, Maguire shoots Sullivan in the arm. Sullivan and Michael seek refuge in a random couple’s farmhouse. Sullivan bonds with his son as he recuperates.

Mr Rooney sits in church. Sullivan surreptitiously requests a private meeting with him. He says he has proof that Connor’s been stealing from his father for years, keeping accounts open under the names of dead men. Rooney says he already knows and begs Sullivan to leave.

Later, Sullivan puts together a tommy gun from a case. Michael wakes, but is told to go back to bed. Sullivan writes a note for Michael and leaves.

It’s dark and raining as a dozen men fill the street. Sullivan shoots them all except Rooney. Rooney says he’s glad it’s Sullivan. Sullivan then shoots Rooney. The locals are at their windows, watching — dead bodies everywhere.

Nitti says Capone wants assurances that after Connor is killed, it’s over. Sullivan then goes to Lexington, Room 1432. He goes into the hotel, gun at the ready. He shoots Connor three times in the bath, then returns to hug his son, Michael.

They drive, carefree now, with Michael’s head out the window. They walk on sand dunes to Aunt Sarah’s house. There’s a dog, but the house is empty. From the house, Michael Sullivan Sr looks out the window at the sea and is shot twice from behind.

Maguire sets up his camera and photographs Sullivan. Michael appears, holding Maguire at gunpoint. As Maguire tries to deescalate things, Sullivan kills Maguire. Michael goes to his father, who soon dies.

Michael watches the ocean, alone. Michael saw that his father’s only fear was that his son would follow the same road as him. That was the last time Michael ever held a gun.

People think that Michael grew up on a farm and, in a way, he did. But, he lived a lifetime before that when he spent six weeks on the road in the winter of 1931 with his father, Michael Sullivan.

When people ask Michael if his dad was a good man or a bad man, he just says he was his father.

Starring Tom Hanks. Paul Newman. Jude Law. Rated 15. Dir Sam Mendes. Released in the UK 2002. Runtime 1hr 57mins

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Ad teaches & gives speeches on his MH struggle + recovery at institutions right across the world. (Movie Sushi pieces contain spoilers)