Tom Hanks has played many diverse roles in his career, from the AIDS-stricken lawyer in "Philadelphia" to the mutt-loathing cop of "Turner & Hooch".
But few characters have been so at odds with his perceived good guy image as the gun-toting mob enforcer he plays in Sam Mendes' 1930s-set follow-up to "American Beauty".
Devoted husband and father by day, implacable hit man by night, Michael Sullivan (Hanks) is a mystery to his oldest son, Michael Jr (Hoechlin)... until the boy follows him one evening and sees how he makes his living.
Forced to go on the run, a family tragedy compels Sullivan to seek revenge against his boss (Newman) and the latter's unhinged son (Craig), while remaining one step ahead of the freelance assassin (Law) they've hired to kill him.
Based on a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins, "Road to Perdition" is a powerful, atmospheric crime thriller that blends "Godfather"-style mayhem with philosophical meditations on the nature of good and evil, and the relationship between sons and their fathers.
Perdition is another word for Hell, and thanks to cinematographer Conrad L Hall, there is no shortage of doom-laden symbolism here.
Just in case you miss it, though, composer Thomas Newman hammers it home relentlessly with an intrusive, operatic score.
But while the flick's portentous posturing occasionally grates, this is still a classy yarn that boasts a strong central performance from Hanks and a superb supporting one from Paul Newman.