This film was directed by Sam Mendes and without doubt was his finest direction since his "American Beauty" three years earlier
The film is set during the 1930's in the era of the great American depression and evolves around a hit man, Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) and his two sons, Michael Jnr (Tyler Hoechlin) and Peter (Liam Atkin) combining a close relationship to a surrogate father, an elderly Irish mob leader John Rooney (Paul Newman) who is also his boss.
Michael Sullivan's eldest son, thirteen year old Michael Jnr; ignorant as to how his father makes his money, accidentally witnesses a murder, committed by Connor Rooney (Daniel Craig), who is the son of his father's boss. His curiosity and desire to know the real truth about his father, now leaves him as a witness to a gang killing. Regrettably, the contract killer exposes young Michael's presence and he must be eliminated as an eyewitness, leaving Michael Sullivan torn between loyalties of protecting his eldest son or his Irish Mob employers.
This murder scene strikes at the heart of an innocent soul and it further creates numerous events that change the Sullivan's lives forever. The father and son subject matter that extends over this picture is so radically handed in its treatment that there is little room for spontaneity. The entire script has been very carefully written, and nearly all the dialogue is handled with great significance. The acting from the entire cast is simply superb, with special mention going to the two malicious bad guys. Firstly, Connor Rooney (Daniel Craig) who portrays the typical man you love to hate, the spoiled, impulsive son of mob leader John Rooney, secondly, Harlen Maguire (Jude Law) as an especially slimy mischief-maker and killer, who goes in pursuit of the Sullivan's and figures very importantly in the film's riveting final phase.
There are some people who will say this is a gangster film, but I believe they missed the essence of the story. It is about a hit man who endeavours to protect his son from the life he chose.
The sets and the atmosphere of the period are perfectly created; editing and cinematography are virtually flawless while the story is well written, sad, poignant and emotional. To top it all, there is a striking music score running in the background with the sole purpose of intensifying the mood and is one of the most beautiful and stirring scores I've ever heard.