Road to Perdition (2002) - full transcript

1931. Mike Sullivan and Connor Rooney are two henchmen of elderly Chicago-based Irish-American mobster John Rooney, Connor's father. In many respects, John treats Mike more as his son, who he raised as his own after Mike was orphaned, than the volatile Connor, who nonetheless sees himself as the heir apparent to the family business. One evening, Mike's eldest son, twelve year old Michael Sullivan Jr., who has no idea what his father does for a living, witnesses Connor and his father gun down an associate and his men, the situation gone wrong initiated from an action by Connor. Caught witnessing the incident, Michael is sworn to secrecy about what he saw. Regardless, Connor, not wanting any loose ends, makes an attempt to kill Mike, his wife and their two sons. Mike and the surviving members of his family know that they need to go on the run as Connor, who has gone into hiding, will be protected through mob loyalty, especially by John, who cannot turn on his own flesh and blood. Still, Mike has to figure out a way for retribution for what Connor did, while still protecting him and his family, not only from Connor, but from John and his fellow associates. Through it all, Mike wants those in his family that had no say in what he chose as a living, to have some redemption for their eternal souls.

There are many stories
about Michael Sullivan.

Some say he was a decent man.

Some say there was no good
in him at all.

But I once spent six weeks
on the road with him...

in the winter of 1931.

This is our story.

Thank you, sir. Much obliged.
Man dies in factory accident!

Get your paper here!
Hot off the press, only 5 cents!

Thanks, Mr. Miller.

I'll help you with it later.

You go fetch your father.


Dinner's ready.

Thank you.

Bless us, O Lord,

for thy gifts we are
about to receive...

through the bounty of Jesus Christ,
our Lord. Amen.



It's a wake, so...

I don't want to see those dice.

No, sir.


I don't wanna go.

-Come on, it's all right.
-No. I'm scared.

Ice helps preserve the body.


who's got a hug
for a lonely old man?

Now then, which is which?
Don't help me.

Peter and Michael.


Annie, Mike, good to see you.

Did you bring the necessary?


If you'll excuse me,

I have urgent business with
these young gentlemen.


Call the cops!
I know hustlers when I see them.

I don't hustle, old-timer.

Pay the man.


Jacket pocket, in my study.

Before I change my mind.



Remind me,

which little Sullivan are you?

Michael, sir.


You don't have to call me sir.

I'm not your pa.

No, Mr. Rooney.

Call me Connor.

No, call me...

Uncle Connor.

What do you want?

Mr. Rooney sent me to get his jacket.

You come back later, huh?

I'm busy.

Yes... Sir.



I want to welcome...

all of you...

to my home.

It's good to have so many...

friends in this house again.

Since Mary died, it's...

Well, it's just been me and my boy...

rattling around in these rooms.

I had this speech prepared, but...

it would be dishonest of me
to say that I knew Danny well.

But lose one of us, it hurts us all.

I'll tell you...

what I do remember, though, and
Finn will remember this too...

and that's Danny
on the high school football team.

A championship game.

Down six points, 10
seconds left to play...

four yards to go,
Danny tackles his own quarterback.


you know... We all make them.
God knows.

Let's drink to Danny's honour.

Let's wake him to God and hope that he
gets to heaven...

at least an hour before
the devil finds out he's dead.

-To Danny!

And now,

I would like to ask...

a dear and a trusted friend...

Finn McGovern,

to say a few words, words that I'll
wager got more poetry than mine.

Get over here.

Thank you, John.

'My brother Danny wasn't wise.'

Nor was he gentle.


with a skinful of liquor in
him, he was a pain in the ass.

But he was loyal and brave.

And he never told a lie.

He'd have enjoyed this party.

Me and the family,

we wanna say thank you
to our generous host.

'Where would this town be
without Mr. John Rooney?'

I've worked for you for...

many years now, John.

Nearly half my life.

And we've never had a disagreement.

I've come to realize
that you rule this town...

as God rules the earth.

You give, and...

-you take away...
-Lovely. Lovely speech.

I'm gonna bury my brother.
Then I'm gonna deal with you.

Sure, Finn, sure.

You'll take care of all of us.

Once you get a good night's sleep.

-He all right?
-Yeah, he's fine.

Just too much to drink.

I'll talk to him.

-Take Mike with you.
-No, Pa...

Take Mike with you.

Just talk, nothing more.

Why are you always smiling?

'Cause it's all so fucking hysterical.



I had a nightmare.

It was about Mr. Rooney's house.

It's just a house.

A big house.

Go back to sleep.

Is Mr. Rooney rich like the Babe?


Are we rich?

No, stupid.

What's papa's job?

He works for Mr. Rooney.



Papa didn't have a father...

so Mr. Rooney looked after him.

I know that,

but what's his job?

He goes on missions for Mr. Rooney.

They're very dangerous.

That's why he brings his gun.

Sometimes even the president
sends him on missions...

'cause Papa was a war hero and all.

You're just making that up.

I am not.

It's all so fucking hysterical.

Peter, I can't come to your concert
tonight. I'm working.

Working at what?

Putting food on your plate, young man.

All right, boys, come on,
clear the plates.

You're a good lad.

You want a shot?


We're just talking to him, right?


Don't get me wrong, Finn.
I feel for you. I do.

You can't let a thing like that
give you cause to go mouthing off.

You and my dad,
you go back many years...

...and he is a just man.

So, what do you say?

Come on now, Finn.

Make this easy.

We can't hear you.

All right.


Thank you.

I am sorry.

I'm sorry for your loss.

I'm sorry for this misunderstanding.

And I'm sorry your brother was
such a fucking liar.

My brother was not a liar.

Excuse me?

To protect my family and keep my job,
I'll stay quiet.

But don't think I don't know
something's going on.

Don't think I won't
find out what it is.

Whoa, buddy...

Easy, easy.


We're just talking.

You tell your father my
brother never stole from him.

I've checked the books.

He never sold booze to no one.
it's all accounted for.

If he sold it, where's the money?

Fuck should I know?

Did you check his mattress?

Maybe you should check yours.

There's something immoral here,
don't you think, Mike?

My beloved father throws your
undeserving little brother...

...the wake of his life, and this...
This is your thank-you?

-What a hideous world this is.
-You think you're so smart.

You think we don't know? You're
spending so much time in Chicago...

What was that?

We're out of here.

Jesus Christ, Connor,
what the hell are you thinking?



Are you hurt?

You saw everything?


You are not to speak of this to anyone.

You understand? Not to anyone!

Who's this?

It's one of yours?

He must have been hiding in the car.

Well, can he keep a secret?

He's my son.

Well, that's good enough for me.

You take him home.

Think I'll walk.

Perfect night for a stroll.

Does Mama know?

Your mother knows I love Mr. Rooney.

We had nothing.

He gave us a home,

a life. We owe him.

Do you understand?


Well, come on inside, then.


clear your plates, please.

I'll do it later.

-It's time for school now...
-It's only a plate!

What's he doing here?

Michael was hiding in the car...

when I went out last night.

Jesus, Mike.

I've spoken to him.
It won't happen again.



Just the feller...

Our secret, right?

I'm talking about the dice.

A man of honour...

always pays his debts.

And keeps his word.

I'm gonna be late for school.

How is Michael? Is he okay?

I've spoken to him.

He understands.

That's tough...

seeing that for the first time.

Well, you turned out.

You can't protect them forever.

If it wasn't this,
it'd be something else.

Natural law.

Sons are put on this earth...

to trouble their fathers.

John's also made it clear that...

Finn McGovern's operation...

will be divided up locally...

among two territories that John
will select personally.

I'd like to take this moment
to thank Mr. Rance for...

interrupting a busy travel schedule
to pay us a visit.

Thank you, Jack.

Mr. Rance met with
John and me earlier...

to make another bid for
our involvement in the unions.

And I told Mr. Rance
what I told him before:

What men do after work...

is what made us rich.

No need to screw them at work as well.

Is there any other business?



is there something you would
like to say about last night?

I'd like to apologize for what happened.

Especially to you, Pa.

Two wakes in a month...

What can I say?

We lost a good man last night.

You think it's funny?

Try again.

I'd like to apologize...

You would like...

to apologize?

Try again.


my apologies.

Is everyone clear about bit borrowers?

There have been far too many
debts outstanding.


Just give me their names.

Tell me who to visit.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Come on upstairs.


Dad forgot to give you this.

It's just a reminder for Tony Calvino.

He's light again.

Are you coming?

No, I'm under house arrest for a while.

Look, I'm sorry about last night.

I am.

I was...


All right.

Help you, sir? Or just looking?

Here to see Tony Calvino.

Yeah, and who are you?

Mike Sullivan.

Yes, sir.

You gonna frisk me?

Should I?

It's a good idea.

That's the only one.

I mean, I'm a grown man
and this place is getting to me.

Every night there's trouble.

No one's got no dough,
but all the world's here wasting it.

Always money for frills and twists,
and never money for food.

Sometimes I despair the species,
you know?

Number 12 in the beauty parlour.
Who's the lucky face?

I'm not from here originally, but...

things being what they are, jobs
ain't hanging off trees, you know.

I'm a boxer by trade.
Nine consecutive titles.

That's a record in South Orange.

I'd make a pretty good bodyguard,
I think.

What I'm saying is,

is Mr. Rooney looking for anyone?

You know,

anyone like me, for example?

Is there any chance you might ask him?


Thank you, Mr. Sullivan.

Thank you very much.

I appreciate it.

Mr. Calvino?

Mr. Calvino, Mike Sullivan's here.

Oh... shit.

He wants to see you.


-Is he packing?
-Not anymore.

All right.

Show him in.

Hey, hey, hey.

You stick around, okay?


How the hell are you?

Things good with the old man?


What brings you here?

Don't imagine it's the pussy.

I have a letter for you from Mr.

Am I behind again?

Am I in trouble?

I don't know.




My God!

Pa, I'm sorry.


The kid would've talked.

I'm sorry.

Goddamn you.

Goddamn you!

I curse the fucking day you were born!

I curse it!


Oh, Lord.

Oh, Lord.

God help us.

God help us.

This house is not our home anymore.

It's just an empty building.

All right, you stay here.
You stay out of sight.

Don't go, Pa. Don't go.

Michael, when they find out we're
gone, they're gonna come after us.

I have to protect you now.

Please, Pa.

All right, here, take this.

-No. I don't want it.
-Take it.

-I don't want it.
-Boy, take it!

You got six shots.

If I'm not back in half an hour, go tell
Reverend Lynch what's happened.

Do not go to Father Callaway.

I don't have any business with you,
Mr. Kelly.

But I have business with you, Mike.

Go ahead.

What is that?

25,000 dollars.

Mr. Rooney wants you to know
there's more if you need it.

You have friends in Ireland, Mike.

Why don't you take Peter and leave?

I can't take Peter.

He's dead.

So where's Connor?

He's in hiding.


You know I can't tell you that.

You think sticking a gun to my head
is gonna make any difference to me?

If I tell you, I'm a dead man anyway.

We both are.

Think, Mike.

Don't be stupid.

I'm just the messenger.

Then give Mr. Rooney a message for me.

What is it?

Give me the gun.

Where are we going?

To Chicago.

There's a man there who runs things.

I've done some work for him.

We have to find out where he stands.

Try to get some sleep.

I want you to wait for me here.


I won't be long. You'll be all right?

Yeah, I'll be all right.

That's a good boy.

Hello, Mike.

Hello, fellas.

It's nice to see you.

We heard what happened.

How you holding up?

I need to talk to Mr. Nitti.

He's awful busy.

I can wait.


Take the man to the top.

Certainly, sir.

Sorry to make you wait so long, Mike.
Come on in.

We all just heard what happened.

Jesus, I'm sorry, Mike.


thank you for seeing me, Mr. Nitti.

Come on, sit down.

-Like some coffee or...?

-You sure?
-Yes, thank you.


what can I do for you, Mike?

I'd like to work for you.


that's very interesting.

And in return, I'd like you
to turn a blind eye to...

what I have to do.

And what is that?

Kill the man who murdered my family.

Is one more body
gonna make a difference?

This is a good proposal, Mr. Nitti.

I will work only for you,
and you know I can do a good job.

I respect you, Mike.

I do.

We would like nothing more than
to have you come work for us.

But not like this.

What you're asking me is impossible.

Is it?

Let me explain something
to you that maybe...

you haven't realized.

All these years,

you've been living under the protection
of people who care about you.

And those same people
are protecting you now,

including me.

So if you go ahead with this,

if you open that door...

you're walking through it alone.

And all that loyalty,

all that trust,

will no longer exist for you.

And Mike,

you won't make it.

Not on your own.

And not with a little boy.

You're protecting him already?

We're protecting our interests, Mike.

I drove all through the night
to see you.

I appreciate that.

Now I suggest you drive yourself back.

Go home, Mike.

Go home and bury your wife and child.

With our blessing.

It won't be that simple.

You heard?

Dad, listen to me.

He's in the building.

You can end this now. Take him now.


get upstairs.

God help me.

God help me.

What do I do?

You think objectively.

And you make your choice.

What would you do if Sullivan...

were just some guy?

God help me.

Make it quick.

And the kid?

Oh, Christ. No, no.

One day the kid becomes a man...

Think he won't remember?

I said not the kid.

All right.

I know who to call.

There's a guy who's done some work
for us in the past.

He's gifted.

Excuse me, ma'am. Press.


He was raping my wife.

He fuckin' raped my wife.

Come on, come on,
you're treading on the evidence here.

Two minutes.

You got it, Mr. Maguire.

Harlen Maguire.

Good evening, Mr. Nitti.

Sixteen hundred.

Sixteen hundred dollars is my rate,
Mr. Nitti.

And what I make on
the photographs is mine.

No, never met him.

But I know his work.

He travelling alone?

How old?

What do I do with the kid?

Will do.

Thank you.

You remember your aunt Sarah?

Your mom's sister?

She lives in Perdition.

She'll take you in.

Where is it?

Right by the lake.

We went there once, all of us,

when you were 4, maybe 5.

It's beautiful.

You remember?

The place with the dog.




Oh, thank God.

I want you to know we're okay.

Where are you?

We're on our way to your place,

if that's all right.

Of course.
I'll be back there in two days.

How's Michael?

He's all right.

How was it?

Oh, Mike...


We'll see you soon.

Hello, operator?

Yes, sir.

I was just cut off,
could you reconnect me?

You hungry?


Might not be another diner for a while,
so you should eat.

I'm not hungry.

I just wanna read.

Slow night, huh?

You kidding? This is busy.

What can I get you?

You got a special?

Everything's special.

Is that so?

Everything except the food.

Everything except the food?

-You ought to be on the stage.
-Don't I know it.

Give me some of that...

honey-dipped fried chicken
and a black coffee.

Duck soup.

Don't mind me, sir.

It's a free country.

Used to be, anyhow.

No, thank you, sir.

Is that...

your profession or...

your pleasure?

Both, I guess.

To be paid...

to do what you love...

Ain't that the dream?

I guess so.


I'm a salesman.

Machine parts.

Machine parts.

That's wonderful.

I assure you, it is not.

So who do you work for?

Can you keep a secret?

I'm press.


which paper?

All over.

I'm something of a rarity.

How's that?

I shoot the dead.

Dead bodies,

that is. I don't kill them.

I should hope not.

Always fascinated me,

the look of them,

you know?

You ever seen one?


Sorry for you.

Terrible thing.

But it sure makes you feel alive,

don't it?

I'll drink to that.

Stuff makes you sweat, huh?

Yeah, piss too.

Excuse me, ma'am, can you...

help me out here?

Just through here.


Look out, there.

Thanks, Ruby.

Good night.

Forgot to leave a tip.

-Get down.
-Why? What's going on?

Get down!

Hey, what do you think you're...?

Get out of the car.

Get out of the car!

When I say get down,

you get down.

You don't ask questions.

When I say we're stopping to eat,

you stay with me. You
listen to me from now on,

or you start taking care of yourself.

I can take care of myself fine!

You never wanted me along anyway.

You think it's my fault this happened.

Stop it.

It was not your fault!

None of this is your fault.

Just take me to Aunt Sarah's.

I can't take you there.

Not now.


He knows that's where we're going.

So, what are you gonna do?

Something I can't do alone.

You have to listen to me now,


Or else both of us are dead.

I have to make Capone give up Connor.

There's one thing...

Chicago loves more than anything
and that's their money.

They've got...

it in banks all over the state.
We have to find it and take it.

Are you gonna help me?


Then I have to teach you something.

You know what the clutch is?

Sure I know what the clutch is.

What is the clutch?

The clutch, it...

It clutches.

Right, it clutches.

Which of those pedals is the clutch?

That's the gas.


I'll show you.

There. Right there, see?

There's the clutch,
and it does the clutching.

Let's go again.

Release gas,


shift gear,

hit gas...


Can I make one suggestion?


I'm doing this.

Hey, 45 miles an hour,
that's a little fast.

Look out for the tractor, Mike.


look out for the tractor.

Watch out for the tractor.

Watch out for the tractor!

We made it.

Oh, yeah, yeah, we made it.

No more excuses.

I've told you once, now
I'm telling you again...

Excuse me.

-I'm looking for a Mr. McDougal.
-Just one moment.

Well, this is a pleasant surprise.

I wasn't expecting another
deposit until the end of the month.

Actually, I'm making a withdrawal.

I want dirty money only.

Everything you're holding for Capone...

that's off the books.

Open the safe.

You're insane.

You know they'll find out who you are.

The name's Sullivan.

You want me to spell it?

Open the box.

They'll kill you.

They're animals.

You don't say.

Put it in.

That's for you.

Call it a...

handling charge. Tell
Chicago I took it.

But if I read about this in the papers,

if I read about the savings
of some innocent farmers...

being wiped out by a
heartless bank robber,

I won't be happy.

Good afternoon.

You really trust me not to say

Always trust a bank manager.

There's no rush.


Thank you.

So, what brings you guys
to the middle of nowhere?

We're bank robbers.

We're just passing through.

So when do I get my share of the money?


how much do you want?

Two hundred dollars.



Could I have had more?

You'll never know.

Come on, come on.

How much did they take?

How much?

Okay, answer me this:

What are we paying you for?

-Where's my father?
-What the fuck is this?

Why is no one talking to me?

-Hold on.
-I feel like a fucking prisoner.

I told you. You are not a prisoner.
You are being protected.

This is what your father wants.

I can look after myself.

No, you can't.

This is the point.

You're a big baby who doesn't know
his thumb from his dick.

Fuck you.

Listen, sonny...

the only reason you're still alive
is because you're John Rooney's son.

You're being a little
short-sighted here, Frank.

My father is an old man.

I am the future.

So don't you ever talk to me
that way again.

Maguire, do what you have to.

Find them.

I'm sorry, Mr. Sullivan,

there is no money.

No... I can get you money, I just...

It won't be Chicago's.

They took it all out two days ago.

Who authorized it?

The accountant.

What's his name?

This is Mr. Rance in the bridal suite.

Before you proffer your
phoney congratulations,

there's no Mrs. Rance
residing with me...

and I'm all the better for it.
Now listen carefully...

because I am in no mood.

I'm going to say this only once.

I would like a boiled egg,

and I want it runny.

Pa, can we sleep in a motel room
tonight instead of the car?

Yeah, that would be nice.

How many more days
you gonna want me, mister?

Can't we close the curtains,

even for a little while?

I can't get no sleep
with all that light.

Remember, you see anything,
you hit that horn twice.

Don't get out of the car,
no matter what.



I'm ready.

Yes, sir.

Right away, sir.


It's open.

Top marks for speed,

no marks for cookery.

What, may I ask, do you call this?

Put it down.

Mr. Sullivan.

Mr. Rance.

How did you find me?

This is the best hotel in the area.

And you are so very... particular.

Yes, indeed, Mr. Sullivan.

May I ask you to lower your weapon.

Thank you.

Now, what do you want?


I can't give you the files.

All right, all right.

They're in the next room.

-In here.
-Bring it in.

I won't be able to see.

What do you think you're
going to accomplish

by interfering with our business?

This has nothing to do with business.

It's all business. That's
what you fail to grasp.

And in business, you must
have something to trade.

And you, Mr. Sullivan,
have nothing to trade.

Especially not for anyone
as valuable as Connor Rooney.

I don't understand.

Opening bell on Wall Street.

Come on, open it.

Which one is it?

No, no,

not it.

Tried that one already.

Better start over.

You got one more try.

There it is.

I'm okay. I'm okay. Watch the road!


Pa, are you okay?



Help us!


Help us!

When are you two heading out?

We've stayed long enough.

We don't wanna cause you any trouble.

No trouble so far.

He's a good worker.

You have any kids?


We met too late.

He dotes on you.

You don't see it.


I had a bad dream.

You wanna talk about it?

Well, come on in.

Take a seat...

if you want.

Math, huh?


I always hated it.

Me too.

So, what do you like?


What subjects do you like...?

Did you like...

in school?

Bible history, maybe.


I like the stories.

Peter was good at math.

Was he?

Did you like Peter more than me?


No, Michael.

I loved you both the same.

But you were...

You were different with me.

Was I?


Maybe it was because Peter was just
such a sweet boy, you know?

And you...

You were more like me.


I didn't want you to be.

I didn't mean to be...



Good night, Pa.

Good night.


wake up.

Get your things.

We're leaving.

We left you something.

Hello, John.

You're a smart man, Michael.

I wanna talk.



I didn't think I'd see you again.

Read this.

Connor's been stealing from you
for years.

He keeps accounts open under
the names of dead men.

Men like the McGoverns.

I stood there and helped him
kill Finn to line his own pockets.

I thought I was working for you,

but I wasn't.

You think I'd give up my son?

He was betraying you.

I know.

Now, listen to me.

I tried to avoid more bloodshed.
You wouldn't accept that so I...

I did what was necessary. But
I've always loved you...

like a son.

And now I'm telling you,


before it's too late.


They're protecting him
now, but when you're gone,

they won't need him.

This ends with Connor dead regardless.

That may be...

but you are asking me...

to give you the key to his
room so you can walk in...

put a gun to his head and pull the trigger.
I can't do that.

He murdered Annie and Peter.

There are only murderers in this room.


open your eyes.

This is the life we chose,
the life we lead.

And there is only...

one guarantee:

None of us will see heaven.

Michael could.

Then do everything...

that you can to see that that happens.


I'm begging you.

It's the only way.

And if I go?


I will mourn...

the son I lost.

What are you gonna do?

Just one last thing,

and then it's done.

Go back to bed, Michael.

I'm glad it's you.

I understand.

But then Al wants your
assurance that after that,

it's over.

The Lexington Hotel,

room 1432.

Is that the house?

That's it.

I knew there was a dog.


It's me, Mike.

We're here.


Give me the gun.



don't you do this.

Give me the gun, Michael.

Come on.

Give me the gun.

I couldn't do it.

I know.


I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.







I saw then...

that my father's only fear...

was that his son
would follow the same road.

And that was the last time
I ever held a gun.

People always thought
I grew up on a farm.

And I guess,

in a way,

I did.

But I lived a lifetime before that...

in those six weeks on the road...

in the winter of 1931.

When people ask me if Michael
Sullivan was a good man...

or if there was just no
good in him at all...

I always give the same answer.

I just tell them...

'He was my father.'