I was particularly impressed with this movie's cinematography. The script touched on themes of crime (and the fate that entails), vicarious redemption, father/son relationships, betrayal, poverty, yadda yadda nobody cares I'll move on . . . but, like most Hollywood movies, it only touched on these things without showing anything new or risky.

The main complaints I've heard others voice about the movie are that the characters were trapped and their fates were predictable. To which I say, number one, "No s***. They're gangsters." and number two, "There was a good reason for that, as a theme, but they screwed it up by making the boy's fate predictable as well." That's the main weakness of the movie: they showed the boy in the beginning narrating from the future, so you know he'd live. They should have broke with the determinism of the other characters and not let us know right away if the boy lives. He's the only one with the chance for redemption; he should be the only one whose fate isn't yet sealed. But this is a Hollywood movie, so, if there's a kid or a dog in it, they'll make sure we know from the beginning that it'll live. "Don't worry, the poor little thing will be peachy. There there." This is the lesson Hollywood learned from an unfortunatly-greenlighted James Belushi movie, k-9: "Don't kill the dog; this ain't Old Yeller." Hollywood corrected this error in that best of all Tom Hanks movies: the incomparable, high-grossing Turner and Hooch.

Frickin' Hollywood.

I give it 4 out of 5, because of the impressive cinematography; quality editing, lighting, and sound; and Paul Newman's performance. I'd love to see what Sam Mendes and Conrad Hall could do with a script that didn't sabotage any of its own themes.

I would also like to extend my apologies for the subjectivity of this wu, but, well, movie reviews are like that. I also apologize for the heavy use of PIPE LINKS.