ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Road to Perdition (2002), R
Analysis Date: July 12, 2002
CAP Score: 22
CAP Influence Density: 1.86

MinMax: -85

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.


Production: 20th Century Fox [us], DreamWorks SKG [us] Distribution: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Distribution LLC [us] Director(s): Sam Mendes Producer(s): Joan Bradshaw, Tara B. Cook, Cherylanne Martin, Sam Mendes, Walter F. Parkes, Dean Zanuck, Richard D. Zanuck Written by/Screenplay: Novel: Max Allan Collins & Richard Piers Rayner. Screenplay: David Self Cinematography/Camera: Conrad L. Hall Music: Thomas Newman Film Editing: Jill Bilcock Casting: Mickie Paskal, Rachel Tenner, Debra Zane Production Design: Dennis Gassner Art Direction: Richard L. Johnson

Road to perdition. Or road to Hell. Take your pick. In either case it is a glamorization of gangland Chicago, giving it romantics by bringing a murderer's young son into the story justifying what his father did in the boy's eyes. In the name of fatherly love. That the movie portrays his father as knowing it was wrong to kill does not excuse it. *Road to Perdition* is a cold movie with high wattage performers.

Tom Hanks plays Angel of Death Michael Sullivan. An orphan "adopted" by crime boss, John Rooney (Paul Newman), Sullivan worships Rooney above his own family. Rooney gave Sullivan a home when he had none. Rooney is the father Sullivan never knew. Too bad Rooney is the Rock Island branch of Capone's mob. Hanks as an enforcer and Newman as a crime boss? An unlikely combination indeed.

Sullivan does have a family. Two sons and a wife. His eldest son, Michael, Junior and younger Peter (Liam Aiken) and wife Annie (Jennifer Jason Leigh). In an idyllic life, Sullivan adores his family, too. What a conflict. Adoration of a man that gave the family a home and a life of contentment and adoration of the family. What is Sullivan to do but to do what Rooney insists. One evening, Peter asks ""What does daddy do for a job?" Even Michael, Jr. doesn't know what daddy does for a living, so he decides to find out. On another evening, Michael Jr. sneaks into the box under the read seat of his dad's car to follow him to "work." It is there Michael Jr. finds out that his dad is a hired killer. Graphically.

There is much more complexity to this movie, folks but I am under such financial stress I cannot think straight for now. Please look to the scoring. It is the only thing of any objective substance I can give you this time and it doesn't require a strong memory.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • many apply but I not of a mind to research them right now.

    *******Food for Daily Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    Road to Perdition (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • not provided this time

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • not provided this time

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • not provided this time

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • not provided this time

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • not provided this time

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • not provided this time

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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