My first choice has to be the ” Road to Perdition”, with its unique and eccentric shootout scene, without a doubt it has to be my review topper. Trust Sam Mendez to conjure the unexpected. Paul Newman along with his body guards depart from a cafe and into an eerie, rain bombarded street, dark and threatening with only dim street lamps as a light source. Paul Newman and his guards are all wearing long black coats and the general gangster uniform. There is a long camera shot of them walking towards their vehicle, with their umbrellas.
The camera zooms into the window of Paul Newman’s vehicle where the audience watch the drivers face fall into the steering wheel. He had been shot! This dramatic change in atmosphere is quickly revealed with the camera zooming out rapidly, replicating the tempo of this scene. A mysterious, ghostly flashing light emerges from the darkness. The camera quickly moves from the light and into the faces of Paul Newman’s body guards, again mirroring the speed of the scene.
A guard dramatically falls to the floor. Shocking! This is where Sam Mendez is separated from the rest; he is the only director who would take out gunshots, to succeed in creating a strong sense of mystery and confusion within the audience, to build up this dreamlike effect with haunting, repetitive and slow music mixed with the pounding of the rain. A genius’s touch. Sam Mendez does not show the gun, we just see the effects of it, again adding to this dreamlike surreal atmosphere.
When the last guard falls to the ground the camera zooms into Paul Newman’s face, and behind his shoulder we see a spectral figure emerge from the darkness and carnage. Tom Hank’s. He and Paul Newman look face to face; this is where the only piece of dialogue is said by Paul Newman, ” I’m glad it’s you”. The camera zooms into the face of Tom Hank’s showing his emotion, the gunshots are ingeniously put back in by Sam Mendez to show the relationship between Tom Hank’s and Paul Newman. You can see how effective this is.
The camera focuses on the face of Tom Hank’s, showing his emotions and how he almost reluctantly pierces Paul Newman with bullets. Sam Mendez cleverly used Hitchcocks’ saying ” Shoot your love scenes like your murders, and your murders like love scenes”, and you can see that director has used this to his advantage. This tragic murder is witnessed by many people and the Camera pans in the shoes of Tom Hank’s, showing all the witnesses, people looking out of their windows in horror and disbelief.
They are all dead. Only one survivor, Tom Hank’s. The final part of this shootout is shot with the dead victims lying on the street with Tom Hank’s returning to the darkness. A wonderful ending to a wonderful shootout. ” The Road to Perdition” has all the ingredients to make it my perfect shootout. Sam Mendez’s clever directorial skills, along with unique ideas have moulded an intriguing, and emotional shootout.