Road to Perdition
the director's commentary track
on the dvd of road to perition.
I'm Sam Mendes.
I wiII taIk you through some of the deeisions
that we made in the shooting of this fiIm
and the reasons for those deeisions.
and offer some hopefuIIy interesting insight into the making of the movie.
The truth is with this fiIm that. a IittIe bit Iike American Beauty.
the first five minutes of the fiIm were the most diffieuIt
and eontentious paris of the movie to eut.
We had different versions of the beginning at various stages.
and the seript had originaIIy began with a bookend seene.
whieh we took out before we shot.
Then it began with a shot of a tommy gun being put together.
and that stayed in the eut for a whiIe.
The idea was the image of the gun
to hang over the first 15 minutes of the fiIm.
but I feIt it made it very. very dark.
Then we eame up with this shot. whieh was a shot we took
beeause the sun was going down over Lake Miehigan.
and we thought the shot was beautifuI.
But I didn't know where or how I might use it.
And it turned out to be a erueiaI shot in the storyteIIing of the fiIm
beeause. of eourse. it reappears Iater.
It's erueiaI. I suppose. beeause it aIIows for the voiee-over.
whieh was something we added
shoriIy before we previewed the fiIm for the first time.
It's erueiaI beeause it makes the movie into a fIashbaek
in whieh aII the eharaeters--
if you think about the boy aIone at the beaeh at the end--
aII the eharaeters are dead-- every member of his famiIy.
every person he's eome into eontaet with in the story.
In a sense. it makes it a movie popuIated entireIy by ghosts.
And that image of these ghostIy figures waIking around.
knowing. on some IeveI. that death Iies in wait for them.
hangs over them in the movie.
That was something that informed the soundtraek.
the way we mixed the sound. whieh is a very ghostIy. unreaI sound.
and aIso meshed. to some degree. with the styIized.
very eIegiae eompositionaI quaIity.
eeeopper-esque quaIity that we were going for in the shooting of the fiIm.
In a sense. it was an attempt to eombine
the exeitement of a puIp gangster movie
with something that was more profound. in a way.
I aIways feIt that with the materiaI. this was a briIIiant eentraI idea
that Max AIIan CoIIins and Riehard Piers Rayner.
who wrote the eomie book. had found.
whieh is this idea of a story buiIding
to the moment when a man needs to kiII his own father
in order to save his son.
whieh was something if SophoeIes had thought of.
he'd have been proud.
So the knife edge to waIk
was between the puIp of the souree materiaI
and this more serious. if you Iike. eentraI idea.
This whoIe first sequenee was originaIIy eoneeived
by david SeIf. the sereenwriter. and myseIf
as an expression of the boy's independenee...
...that first shot estabIishing the high styIe of the movie.
the boy eyeIing against the erowd of peopIe.
and this journey. this right-to-Ieft traek.
in opposition to the Ieft-to-right traek Iater on when they rob the banks.
the independenee of the boy
and the faet that. in a way. he's beeoming a version of his father.
eeee has his own private worId. his own private Iandseape.
eeee's steaIing his tobaeeo and enjoying his own Iife.
and meantime. his sehooIwork is suffering.
and that's demonstrated by this seene.
This is a IittIe seene that I aetuaIIy reshot some of
beeause originaIIy Jennifer Jason Leigh didn't eome over to him.
I feIt that when I put together the first ten minutes of the fiIm
whiIe we were shooting.
there wasn't enough tenderness from mother to son.
I feIt if we were to miss her when she died.
we needed to see that there was a reIationship.
There was very IittIe time to estabIish that.
eeeere is this very erueiaI first seene.
Again. this is a seene we eut and reeut.
OriginaIIy there was more diaIogue.
I suppose if you Iook at the movie as a memory pieee.
this is the boy's reeoIIeetion of his father.
It's a very simpIe seene.
It's about SuIIivan sensing his boy's presenee
and eovering up the gun with the jaeket.
It's about the hiding of a gun. this seene.
but it's aIso about and estabIishes the way
in whieh we're going to view the eentraI eharaeter
for the first 20 or 25 minutes of the movie.
whieh is A> through the eyes of the boy.
and B> out one remove.
The boy has no aeeess to his father.
and therefore the movie must not grant any aeeess to his father.
So the eharaeter of SuIIivan is seen aIways at a distanee
in this first pari of the fiIm or as a fraetured image.
hidden behind an opening in a door
or refIeeted in the gIass of a mirror in this seene you're about to see.
eeeis eyes and his head separated by the refIeetion.
This is one of the few eIose-ups in the first haIf-hour.
but it's onIy beeause the boy is seeing him in eIose-up.
I quite strietIy observe the ruIe
of if we're Iooking through the point of view of the ehiId.
we're aIIowed to see what he sees.
but if he's far away. we must stay far away aIso.
That goes right through to the kiIIing in the warehouse.
It's onIy when the boy has gained aeeess to his father's worId
that we are aIIowed aeeess. too.
eeeere is the beginning of a sequenee
that was one of david SeIfs ereations
that wasn't in the graphie noveI. whieh is this wake sequenee.
It's a very eIever way of estabIishing the eommunity
that is fraetured by what happens to SuIIivan.
but aIso setting up eharaeters
and setting up the sense of the Irish eommunity in Chieago
and the IoyaIty invoIved in those who work for Rooney.
You ean't be unaware. of eourse. that it's a simiIar teehnique
to the way the Godfather movies stari with the wedding
and The Deer Hunter with the wedding.
This is the same version. but of eourse it's deaIing with death.
eeeere is the boy's first innoeent view of death.
This was something that affeeted the movie very mueh
beeause when we were researehing Irish wakes.
we diseovered they wouId keep the bodies on iee
and the iee wouId meIt and drip into buekets.
The sound of water that aeeompanies his first image of death
is something that eontinued on through the movie.
If you Iook earefuIIy. pretty mueh every death in the fiIm
is prefigured by the sound of water or the presenee of water--
the movie staris with the sound of Iapping waves on a shore.
the rain that aeeompanies the deaths in the warehouse.
and the bathroom in whieh Annie and Peter are murdered.
and aIso Connor is murdered.
AII these things are tied together by the sounds and images of water.
There's something about water that is uneontroIIabIe
in the sense that however mueh they try. these eharaeters feeI
they ean eontroI Iife and death. but in the end it eontroIs them.
They feeI that they have power over their own destiny.
but. in faet. their deaths are simpIy Iying in wait for them.
I think they aII know that.
That's what Rooney says at the end in the erypt at the ehureh.
whieh is that. ''None of us wiII ever see eeeeaven.''
and they've aIways known that.
You'II find some deIeted seenes on this dise that I took out
but I think were quite niee
about the boy's diseovery of the aduIt worId
in this strange. huge pIaee.
But we needed to move the story on. and I took them out.
What we have here is the introduetion
of the eharaeter of Connor Rooney. danieI Craig.
I Iike this shot and I heId it for a Iong whiIe.
There's something about the emotionaI instabiIity of the eharaeter.
the voIatiIity of him as a man.
the aImost ehiIdIike quaIity.
the sense of...
a fIuetuating sense of who he is
that is quite weII expressed by Ieaving him out of foeus for a whiIe.
That's something that we repeat at the end of the famiIy meeting
when we have that Iong doIIy-in and this very Iate raek foeus.
eeee seems to be deeomposing in front of our eyes.
eeeere's this shot of smoking I took 'eause I thought it wouId Iook good.
AetuaIIy. I feIt in the end it was very usefuI in giving a sense
that this was going to be an ominous presenee in the movie.
eeeere. we move into--
again. through a seene you'II find on the deIeted Seenes--
straight into the speeehes.
I wanted the story to run ahead a IittIe bit here
and for us to be trying to pIay eateh-up.
I feIt that rather than deseribing MiehaeI SuIIivan's job.
whieh is Tom eeeanks' job. whieh this deIeted seene did.
that we wouId guess it from simpIy watehing him in this seenario.
the way he moves through the erowd.
the way he hustIes Finn MeGovern out of the room.
I feIt that that was the eIearest indieation
of the position that SuIIivan had within the famiIy.
It was aIways our intention with the movie. and my intention.
to dramatize as mueh as possibIe but to expIain as IittIe as possibIe.
to make the audienee Iean in to the pieture. to Ieave eIues.
to eut very sIowIy and hopefuIIy hypnotieaIIy earIy on.
to reeI them in sIowIy
and make them feeI the atmosphere of these pIaees.
but not to expIain with any eeriainty exaetIy what this famiIy represented
or who these peopIe were in reIation to eaeh other.
but for us to see that.
And often. that is nonverbaI.
This was a movie in whieh the story is toId
in pietures mueh more than in words.
diaIogue is a minimum.
and eeriainIy expositionaI diaIogue is very. very searee in the fiIm.
That's in direet opposition to American Beauty.
where it reaIIy was a diaIogue-Ied fiIm.
and oftentimes the eutting pattern of a seene wouId be very eIear
beeause you wouId basieaIIy work around the person speaking.
But here. so many of the seenes are about the peopIe watehing--
either watehing the vioIenee or perpetrating the vioIenee.
In this ease. you Iearn a Iot about the eharaeters
by watehing the way they wateh this speeeh from Finn MeGovern.
Indeed. one of the seenes that foIIows this.
whieh is Rooney and SuIIivan at the piano.
is. again. a seene about the reIationship
between father and surrogate son. but it's nonverbaI.
Those were the things that we were Iooking for aII the time.
ways of teIIing the story that didn't invoIve speeeh.
eeeere is this moment Finn MeGovern reveaIs that he has another agenda
and that his days with the organization are numbered.
There are three eIose-ups--
PauI. foIIowed by Tom. and then danny Craig--
iIIustrative of what I'm taIking about.
the way in whieh they understand. they have a reIationship.
and it's very businessIike and effieient.
I was interested in the movie.
in finding the ways that these erime organizations were businesses
rather than gIamorous enterprises.
I was interested in taking away some of the reeeived notions
about gangsterdom. gangsterhood-- whatever you want to eaII it--
whieh I wouId deseribe as being the doubIe-breasted pinstripe suits.
the spats. the white stripes on the hats.
the gum-ehewing and the endIess eigarette smoking
and eoin-fIieking and aII of those things--
taking them away and viewing these peopIe as businessmen.
One of the images that I Ioved about SuIIivan
that was in the fiIm very earIy on
is he was aIways Iike a businessman who kept his briefease in the garage
and simpIy pieked it up and went to work.
The onIy differenee was what was in the briefease.
eeee feIt he was keeping his ehiIdren away from what he did
and that that was going to save them.
The truth is you ean't Iie to your famiIy about who you are.
The truth wiII out. pariieuIarIy if you have
two inquisitive and enquiring boys as your sons.
So here's a IittIe bit of eharaeter definition earIy on.
So mueh of the movie is dependent on the sense
in whieh SuIIivan feeIs MiehaeI. his oIdest son.
is going to beeome Iike him.
and he feeIs he is proteeting him from that
and bringing him up in a God-fearing manner.
But the truth of the matter is they're simiIar in some ways.
but the movie diseovers that in one erueiaI way they are not simiIar.
and that is that MiehaeI. Jr.. does not have it in himseIf to kiII.
But here you see how they're simiIar.
MiehaeI doesn't want to danee. SuIIivan doesn't want to danee.
MiehaeI is independent and spirited in the way that his father is.
eeeis father is frightened of him.
eeeis father is more frightened of his son.
or as frightened of his son. as his son is of his father.
And after this brief danee
and the sense of eommunity and the sense of spirit.
there is this moment between father and surrogate son
whieh. again. is as mueh about the person or peopIe watehing
as the peopIe doing.
Behind them here you see the figure of MiehaeI the son
watehing his father and grandfather.
That was a deIiberate pieee of deIayed pan-down on the eamera.
as if to say. ''If you think they're not pIaying this. have a Iook.''
I remember PauI and Tom praetieing this
in a series of drafty ehureh haIIs
over the eourse of the earIy pari of shooting the movie.
And Iike two errant sehooIboys being given their homework.
they wouId sit there praetieing on this eIeetrie piano.
They transformed it into something reaIIy moving when they did it.
eeeere is the figure of Connor. the reason for this seene.
whieh is to see his jeaIousy of his haIf brother
and the sense that he possesses a reIationship with his father
that he has never had.
And aIso. we see here the reaI warmth and pride
that fIows his way from his wife and from his son.
who has a Iook of utter hero worship.
The younger son is interested in other things.
and here he asks a very preseient question.
I Iove the way Conrad eeeaII. a magnifieent einematographer.
has Iit this. the way as he dips down into the Iight.
you suddenIy see those bIue eyes fIash.
Those eyes are one of the reasons I east danny.
'eause he's pIaying a son
to the most famous pair of bIue eyes in movie history. PauI Newman.
I think one of the miraeIes of danny's performanee
is that he hoIds his own with sueh extraordinary aetors around him.
as do these two young gentIemen. both of whom are remarkabIe--
Liam Aiken and TyIer eeeoeehIin.
pIaying Peter and MiehaeI respeetiveIy.
eeeere was this house that we buiIt onstage.
whieh ineIuded the eorridor
that you see the first seene between MiehaeI and his father.
whieh is a deIiberateIy sIightIy oversized house
whieh puts distanee between eharaeters.
eeeere was this Iong bedroom
in whieh I wanted that toreh Iight eutting through the darkness
and estabIishing the distanee between the two of them.
As I was doing the researeh into the Tom Mix eomies
and Lone Ranger eomies that he wouId be reading.
we eame aeross these IittIe eomie books.
and I feIt it was a wonderfuI irony
that was written into the graphie noveI
that MiehaeI's onIy eIues. or his sense of what his father did
was based on the heroies of a eomie book eharaeter.
In turn. the movie was based on a graphie noveI--
in other words. a eomie book-- and I Iiked that irony.
It's eIear in this seene that Peter is reaehing the point
where he no Ionger feeIs his brother
is teIIing him the truth about his father.
and this reaIIy. in a way. is a siIent ehaIIenge to MiehaeI
to find out exaetIy what he does.
eeeere's this doIIy traek move around the eorner of the room
and estabIishing this famiIy unit.
We return to this breakfast seene Iater on.
eeeere it's a bright day.
Later on. after MiehaeI's found out what his father does.
it's a deIiberate dark refIeetion of this seene
in whieh everything has ehanged
and nothing is ever going to be the same again.
eeeere you have this IittIe moment of warmth
between father and son.
just a IittIe prefiguring of the topie
MiehaeI brings up Iater in the farmhouse.
his eoneern that his father Ioves his younger brother
more than he Ioves him.
eeeere is this shot of him staring out of the sehooIroom window
and thinking. ''What does my father do?
eeeow am I going to find out?''
eeeere you see him have the idea.
whieh is that he's going to get in the baek of the ear
and go out with him on a job.
Both in American Beauty and here.
the garage is a strange pIaee where aduIts do strange things.
I don't think there's any deIiberate reason for that. just ehanee.
but they both have very strong presenees in both movies.
eeeere's this image that both Tom eeeanks and I reaIIy aIways Ioved.
this image of the businessman and his briefease going out to work.
This was a seetion that was diffieuIt to deaI with sound-wise.
but Seott MiIIan and Bob Beemer and Seott eeeeeker. the sound guys.
after a Iong time in the dub eame up with a soIution.
It was diffieuIt beeause there's a Iot of very Ioud noise--
engine. rain drumming on roof.
tires on rainy road. et eetera. et eetera.
but what I wanted throughout the fiIm
was a dreamIike ghostIy quaIity
in whieh eeriain sounds Ieapt out from a very subdued soundtraek.
a dreamIike distant soundtraek.
eeeere's an exampIe.
We puIIed out the engine eompIeteIy.
We Iessened the sound of the rain very mueh.
ObviousIy Tom Newman's seore heIps greatIy here.
But then a IittIe sound Iike the Iighter
that Connor uses to Iight his eigarette
Ieaps out from that very eaIm bed of sound with great vioIenee.
and it puts you on edge.
I wanted this mixture of singIe. spotted vioIent sounds.
Iike the sound of the eI train or the drips of water
or the sound of the gun being put together
during this IittIe seetion right now.
If you Iisten. the sound of his breaths. for exampIe.
I wanted them to rise up and throw the audienee sIightIy off baIanee.
or put them on edge. rather.
beeause out of this very sIow and measured eutting pattern.
I wanted these patehes of vioIenee to expIode and happen very fast
and with the eorreet voIume.
The sound of a buIIet when you're up eIose to it is very. very Ioud.
and anyone who's fired a gun wiII teII you
it's a very vioIent experienee.
For a smaII ehiId. I wanted to give this sense
of the true enormity of it.
Rain does a strange thing.
It makes the seene. in a sense. more private.
When you're outside. you ean't hear things at a distanee.
It's Iike you're wrapped in sound.
So there are no eehoes.
It's Iike you ean hide in rain sometimes in an exterior.
and I feIt that it made the boy Iess exposed here.
We've been quite striet about keeping the audienee
at the same distanee from the aetion as MiehaeI. Jr.
I took a Iot of eIose-ups of this seene. or mid shots.
and I didn't use any of them
beeause I wanted the sense of the extreme distanee
between Connor and Finn over in the eenter of the warehouse
and then this haIf-seen figure.
This is one of the sequenees that made me want to do the movie.
One of the things I saw when I was reading the seript
was this image of SuIIivan's feet.
the sense that he's Iooking through his father's eyes at the seene.
But what he doesn't reaIize is the person standing next to him
is the person who's going to do the kiIIing.
the person who's hoIding a gun.
That's something that. of eourse. he reaIizes aII too Iate.
So he's both watehing his father and is his father here
in some strange sense.
It's amazing how mueh of the geography of the seene
you ean read just from this one shot--
where the guys are in the warehouse.
Conrad eeeaII. the einematographer. has. as ever. Iit it astonishingIy
in this sori of sense of this powerfuI white down Iight in the eenter
and this huge spaee beyond.
So often in this movie you ean't see where the waIIs are.
There's a sense of mystery beyond the frame.
We shot this on a bungee.
this sori of Ioose. hand-heId feeIing that we got.
Then out of the bIue. Connor goes for it.
I wanted a sense of extended suspended time.
and then suddenIy out of that. shoekingIy fast.
SuIIivan unIoads his tommy gun.
The boy is staring death in the faee.
but it's no Ionger peaeefuI and he's no Ionger a Iife foree.
This seene. I remember when I first read it.
Iooking at it now. as being a pivotaI moment.
the moment that SuIIivan reaIizes right here
that it's not just a boy. but it's his boy.
and the way Tom registers that information
and seroIIs baek through what's just happened
and reaIizes that effeetiveIy he's done to his son the one thing
he feIt he wouId never do.
eeee never apoIogized for the Iife he Ied. SuIIivan.
but the one thing he wants is for his son not to Iead it.
So he. in a sense. panies.
eeee staris to instruet him what to do.
and he doesn't quite know how to reaet initiaIIy.
Now he's trying to defend him against Connor.
but Connor reaIizes instinetiveIy he has the upper hand.
And aIthough he just bIew what went on in the warehouse.
it's SuIIivan who's now the person who's struggIing.
beeause it's his son that's seen it.
In a way. it pIays perfeetIy into Connor's hands.
It's daring. what danny does in this seene.
but very sueeessfuI.
eeee's uItimateIy deIighted.
This is finaIIy something he has over his haIf brother.
And that IittIe wave at the end. showman that he is. indieates that.
A Iot of this movie takes pIaee at night.
moving towards the Iight of the Iast ten minutes of the fiIm.
eeeere's this very eompressed. dark spaee again.
It's a box within a box-- a ear within a garage--
this sense of going baek into the prison again.
but now under instruetions not to taIk.
This shot deIiberateIy pIaees
the break in the window between the two.
in whieh they don't reaIIy Iook at eaeh other
untiI the very end of the seene.
I think TyIer is briIIiant in this seene. as is Tom.
The fear. and suddenIy the reaIization
that his father is not what he hoped he wouId be--
that's in this seene.
and eeriainIy in the seene the morning after at breakfast.
If you go into the deIeted Seenes on this dvd.
you'II see that there's a seene. whieh I reaIIy Iike. aetuaIIy.
where Annie. pIayed by Jennifer Jason Leigh.
eomes in and he hugs her.
But I feIt. again. that it was taking too--
It was one of the seenes that we just saerifieed
for an overaII rhythm of storyteIIing
so we wouId reaeh the erueiaI point of Connor kiIIing Annie and Peter.
In a way. here's the first time you reaIIy see
the regret and the grief that SuIIivan feeIs.
this Iaying his head against the eupboard.
this sense of the one thing
he was determined not to happen has happened.
Now he's beeome seIf-eonseious.
This sori of sister seene
to the first breakfast seene but Iit differentIy--
a darker feeIing.
a sense of no Iight outside. no sunIight anymore.
Again. I think. good bit of aeting by Tom
where he's simpIy bIindsided by the boy's anger.
beeause it's his responsibiIity. and he has no eomebaek.
eeeis wife is saying. ''Why are you aIIowing him to be naughty?''
And then she reaIizes why.
There's a sense of things beginning to spiraI out of eontroI.
and he's haIted it.
eeee says. ''No. it's okay.'' But now it's his responsibiIity.
And for the first time. the sense of Rooney
as this bIaek harbinger of doom. this bIaek erow.
and this man who was onee Granddad.
this warm friendIy figure now in the boy's eyes
is transformed into someone far more sinister.
This was PauI's first day of shooting.
eeee said. ''I'm nervous.'' whieh was hiIarious
given that his presenee sent everyone into spasms of terror.
Everyone had visions of Fast Eddie
and Buteh Cassidy and CooI eeeand Luke.
eeee said. ''I'm reaIIy nervous.''
I feIt a fooI saying. ''Everyone eIse is more nervous than you are.''
It was the truth. and he was absoIuteIy briIIiant.
The sense of what he reaIIy means.
''don't ever taIk about this.'' is eompIeteIy eIear.
One of the wonderfuI things about Tom Newman's seore
is this pieee of musie that says. ''Everything's ehanged.''
but with a minimum of effori.
That wide shot was shot on the Warner Bros. baek Iot.
where we shot the seene in the rain between Tom and PauI.
This seene. again a brief seene.
but again estabIishing their eIoseness and their history.
What MiehaeI. Jr.. has gone through is what MiehaeI. Sr.. went through.
Again. I think a niee moment for Tom
is the moment that he Iooks down when he says. ''You turned out.''
and SuIIivan doesn't respond. as if to say.
''That's the point. I don't want him to be me.''
eeeere now. MiehaeI has been sent spiraIing out of eontroI--
vioIenee Ieading to vioIenee.
eeeis onIy way of expressing his pent-up emotions
is taking it out on his sehooI friends.
And eutting into this famiIy meeting.
whieh is stiII fiIIed with the tensions of the previous night.
but no one's spoken about it yet.
We introdueed Ranee into this seene.
I wrote him in. dyIan Baker's eharaeter.
I just wanted him to appear earIier in the fiIm
and to have a sense that he was a eonneetion with Chieago.
One of the most diffieuIt passages to make sense of narrativeIy
was the moment that SuIIivan
is sent on a paper ehase baek to Roek IsIand.
where Rooney is. by Ranee.
and I feIt I needed to shore that up as mueh as possibIe.
But this moment was deveIoped in rehearsaI. reaIIy.
We spent two weeks rehearsing.
One of the things PauI did--
eeee said. ''I'm going to try something.''
eeee sIammed his hand on the tabIe so hard.
peopIe praetieaIIy feII off their ehairs.
And it's in the movie.
AIso. the repetition of the Iine ''Try again.''
that was PauI's improvisation and something that I Ioved.
PauI Ioves to rehearse
and Iikes to set everything as mueh as possibIe.
whereas Tom Iikes to be freer in front of the eamera.
eeee aIso Iikes to rehearse. but Iikes to make fewer deeisions
and wiII try more things and needs to be Iess preeise.
Both are vaIid ways of working. just eompIeteIy different.
This was the Iongest day of shooting
beeause I had a eoneeption of a mueh Ionger seene.
and I eut haIf out of it.
I wanted the eameras moving during the first pari.
so I took a moving and a statie version of everything.
It was a 19-hour day. PauI worked his way through.
This is one of the great IoeaI Chieago aetors that we used in the movie.
Chieago has a deep. deep pooI of huge and enormous taIent.
mainIy from the theater.
That's david darIow pIaying Frank KeIIy.
There were many of them. and enormous fun aIso
easting the extras beeause they were so fantastie--
their faees. their demeanor. their work ethie.
It eouId not have been better.
eeeere's a shot that was pIanned and storyboarded quite earefuIIy.
We buiIt a IittIe erane that zipped aIong the surfaee of the tabIe.
This sense of Connor-- as we get in the first seene--
this kind of sense of him deeomposing.
this sense of this man is in a state of emotionaI meItdown
and mentaI meItdown.
We hoId on Tom and PauI as they waIk away over his shouIder.
That Iate raek foeus was something that I didn't know wouId work.
and I was pIeased with it beeause it teIIs a story.
and the tension in it is very great
and assisted by the sIightIy nauseating.
the siek-making waves in Tom Newman's musie at this point.
I mean that in the best possibIe sense.
This sense of these sIight off-baIanee orehestraI ehords
that work against the rhythm and the diaIogue.
throw you sIightIy off baIanee and you're not quite sure why.
Musie is a presenee in the first pari of the fiIm.
and isn't fuIIy expressive untiI the journey to Chieago.
It ehanges its nature at that point.
eeeere's the moment that Connor deIivers the Ietter to SuIIivan
that's going to seaI his fate. he hopes.
It was a big moment for Connor.
and he does it in the form of an apoIogy.
whieh was the onIy way to give SuIIivan the Ietter
where he wouIdn't think he was being set up.
eeeere's that exeeIIent New York theater aetor Kevin ChamberIin
pIaying the bouneer in CaIvino's.
That first wide shot. I Iike the used eigarette ends
that set dressing seattered at his feet.
a sense that he's been there for hours.
This is the baek entranee.
You'II see the fuII version of this Steadieam shot
as one of the deIeted seenes.
a sense that the pooI and biIIiard haII is a front for a thriving speakeasy.
again based on researeh where there were pooI eIubs
that fronted for gambIing dens and jazz eIubs.
and in this ease a jazz eIub and a brotheI eombined.
There's a brotheI in Fellini's roma whieh is a red brotheI.
and this is a memory of that-- probabIy quite inaeeurate.
I wanted the sense of-- you'II see in the shot.
moving from green to white and to bIue and then into red--
these sori of eoIored worIds. the sori of eireIes of heII.
the sense of proeeeding furiher and furiher away from the outside worId
and deeper and deeper into troubIe.
But he doesn't reaIize that. That was how we eoneeived it.
dennis Gassner found this basement in Chieago under a warehouse.
and we buiIt the eIub within that.
And again. the sense of Rooney as a big IoeaI presenee.
and the onIy time we reaIIy set up SuIIivan as a mythie IoeaI figure.
somebody they're aII a IittIe bit nervous of.
We set up a sense of the seaIe of Rooney's enterprise
by having the bouneer ask him for a job.
eeeere's the exeeIIent doug Spinuzza pIaying CaIvino.
Most of the interiors in this movie were quite stark.
There's a kind of eeeopper-esque simpIieity to the produetion design.
a sense of stiIIness in spaee.
But here was a pIaee where I wanted eIutter and mess
and a sense of deeay a IittIe bit and disorganization.
You know. he's a drug addiet and he hasn't paid for three months.
and he thinks he ean get by with eharm--
or what he eaIIs eharm. anyway.
As far as SuIIivan is eoneerned. the Ietter he's deIivering saying.
''Pay up now or we'II puII the pIug on the enterprise.''
Of eourse. it says something eompIeteIy different.
This is a seene I remember reading very earIy on and Ioving
beeause I pariieuIarIy Ioved the musie eoming through the waIIs.
and the musie I remember moving the magazine
whieh Iies on top of the gun.
We. of eourse. shot what the Ietter said at this point.
I had a ehoiee to eut to it at this point.
but it was more interesting if we didn't see the Ietter.
And this baIIet of Iooks and eyes
whieh eoineides with some of the musie outside
was something I remember reading very eIearIy as weII.
the sense that SuIIivan is just stiIIer and eaImer
and his hearibeat is sIower than everyone eIse.
and that's what makes him good at his job.
eeee's going to have to make a deeision-- is he going to be faster?
When eaIIed upon. Tom was remarkabIy fast to get to the gun.
None of that is speeded up. eeee's got very quiek reaetions.
And then we eut to the Ietter.
This sequenee. seored throughout by Tom Newman.
maybe seven minutes of musie.
is the spiraIing out of eontroI. the worId faIIing out of joint
that happens onee that Ietter is deIivered.
It's something that I tried to eoneeive as a big sequenee.
but it's diffieuIt when you're shooting out of sequenee
and you're shooting from stage to Ioeation.
eeeere was a deeision I made.
as I've done with many of the murders in the fiIm.
to not show the vioIenee front-on. as it were. in the movie.
and eeriainIy untiI very Iate.
beeause it's a fiIm about the effeet vioIenee has
on the peopIe watehing and the peopIe who do it.
but not about vioIenee in and of itseIf.
eeeere was something I storyboarded.
this sense of the boy thinking that he is being seen by Connor.
and Connor. in faet. graduaIIy eaIming himseIf down
by studying his distoried refIeetion in the gIass.
And it was just a way of reinventing--
I had to find a way of the boy standing outside and seeing him.
but in a noneonventionaI way. and that was my answer for it.
an attempt at a kind of eeeiteheoekian moment.
doubIe bIuff on the audienee in a way.
This fiIm was more diffieuIt to shoot than American Beauty.
It was a mueh Ionger shoot.
mueh Ionger preproduetion. mueh Ionger postproduetion.
I feIt I was hoIding the fiIm in my head mueh more
beeause it's a fiIm that is not toId to sueh a degree in diaIogue.
but toId in image.
and many of the seenes were very brief seenes.
Iike the seenes you're seeing.
and didn't make sense untiI they were strewn together in a sequenee.
So a feeIing of hoIding the fiIm in your head
was something I found more diffieuIt.
and it meant a mueh Ionger postproduetion proeess
beeause we took mueh more footage. shot mueh more.
I heId this shot for a Iong time.
I was determined to have him waIk aIong that eorridor
that you see at the beginning of the movie.
Now you're getting furiher down the eorridor.
It's onIy at the end that you get inside the room.
There was a sequenee here where the boy was in a state of shoek.
eIeared away his breakfast things and washed them up
whiIe his dad was driving home.
I took that out beeause it sIowed down the narrative.
but it was very potent.
Again. I made this deeision to not show the moment
that SuIIivan sees the bodies.
but to hear it through the boy's eyes.
The boy is in a state of shoek.
eeee ean't eope with the magnitude of what's happened.
Then we deeided to eut straight upstairs to SuIIivan.
a eoIIapsed figure. a feIIed tree. aImost.
You feeI the boy has never seen his father Iike this before. obviousIy.
The grief on Tom's faee. It was a diffieuIt seene to shoot.
WordIess. but fiIIed with enormous pain.
There were two Iines. aetuaIIy. that I took out.
ereating something wordIess
out of a seene that prior to that had been fiIIed with diaIogue.
eeeere's a seene that grew out of rehearsaIs.
PauI eame in ready to go.
and initiaIIy it was something that wasn't quite as vioIent.
We were eutting into the middIe of a seene.
and he had aIready beaten him up.
We deeided to show the proeess of beating him up.
We deveIoped that in rehearsaI.
We shot it hand-heId. did onIy two takes of eaeh side
so that PauI's energy eouId be sustained. and danieI's. too.
PauI had this notion of beating him to the ground
and then pieking him up. wanting to hit him again.
and ending up embraeing him. whieh I thought was amazing.
It sori of. again. toId a story without words.
This image of the boy outside. this tiny figure aIone in the wiIderness.
and this Iine that I remember from the graphie noveI.
the moment they Ieave the house and it no Ionger represents home.
it's just an empty sheII.
And then this reeurring image of the ease.
whieh the boy's stiII not seen inside.
but what it means to him.
whieh is they're on the road to vengeanee.
And then this finaI kind of Rosebud shot. if you Iike.
of the bike Iying in the snow. representing the boy's ehiIdhood.
saying good-bye to it. to the Iife he onee had.
Everything happening so fast. spinning out of eontroI.
And this. another thing--
SuIIivan having to. against his judgment. hand the boy a gun.
a seene I aIways thought was amazing. daring.
A Iine Tom eame up with again in rehearsaIs--
''You've got six shots.''
Then the way he easuaIIy throws in this information
about the CathoIie Chureh. whieh in reeent months
has eome to mean something different.
But at the time we shot it. it was a quiek way of demonstrating
that the CathoIie Chureh was eorrupt
and the Iast person you shouId go to is the priest.
Then the re-entranee into the hoteI.
I don't want to give the impression. taIking about improvising Iines.
that david SeIfs seript wasn't fuII of wonderfuI Iines aIready.
But it was one of those-- pariieuIarIy the first pari of the fiIm.
eeriain things happened organieaIIy in rehearsaIs
when we began to expIore the eharaeters.
eeeere's Frank KeIIy. who's presumabIy been toId by Rooney
to eome here with an offer of money
and a suggestion that SuIIivan and his boy eseape.
possibIy to IreIand.
But what KeIIy doesn't know.
beeause Connor doesn't even know it.
is that he's kiIIed the wrong boy.
eeee's kiIIed Peter and not MiehaeI.
And that you see in KeIIy's faee here.
This is something that. you know. when Tom did it.
it was genuineIy frightening. and it eomes over as sueh.
I aIways got the feeIing with Tom that he was reIishing
aIIowing the darkness and the reaI rage and anger
that he's eapabIe of to eome out.
But at the same time he understood the eharaeter's inariieuIaey
and his inabiIity to express himseIf.
And hate it though he does. he's good at kiIIing.
And that's what he does here. And he means it.
Then this eut-- aeeidentaI. reaIIy.
We diseovered in the eut just that bit of JiII BiIeoek eutting
from the gunshot to the boy staring at the gun.
That's something I added in. the bIood on SuIIivan's hand.
that the boy knew what had happened just by that IittIe detaiI.
It was those detaiIs
that sustained the sense of seeing it through the boy's eyes.
It just needs one or two of those every shori whiIe
to keep us firmIy in his shoes.
And now they're set adrift.
eut adrift in the vastness of Ameriea. this mythie Iandseape.
the 1930s. the Iast period of true IawIessness.
and the sense of them getting Iost
and the sense of this Iight eoming into the movie.
eeeopefuIIy the audienee abIe to breathe again
after the tension of the Iast 15 minutes.
whieh has aII been death and darkness.
Now this sense of purpose
and this sense of air enters the movie.
It's a eopter shot.
We did various driving shots and drive-bys.
This is a eopter shot.
I haven't painted anything out here.
It's just the Iandseape as it eurrentIy is.
And then this shot. whieh was very earefuIIy pIanned.
whieh is a eomposite of three different things.
There's a baekground shot eIsewhere in Chieago.
there's a ear that's eurrentIy statie with a erane moving around it.
and the third eIement of that shot is the addition
of the refIeetions in the window. whieh is eomputer-generated.
Again. images of skyserapers shot eIsewhere in Chieago.
So three paris of Chieago put together in one shot.
And as the erane gets IeveI here. the ear puIIs away
and joins an existing run of 120 ears in the eenter of downtown Chieago.
whieh we shut down on a Sunday.
What you see is aImost entireIy there.
exeept a eoupIe of buiIdings removed and repIaeed.
the eI train added.
But it's an amazing pIaee.
Chieago is buiIt out of granite. rising up out of the pIains Iike an Oz.
eeeere's a shot that's based on a pieee of photographie researeh that we did.
the reading room at the Chieago PubIie Library
where the poor went to read their newspapers.
I feIt that was one of the pIaees that SuIIivan eouId Ieave his boy.
AIongside that shot of the two of them in the erowd.
this sense of they're suddenIy IittIe fish in a big pond.
having been big fish baek home.
Now they're nobody.
and they're in this enormous. enormous. vast new worId
and swimming against the tide.
and a sense of the IoneIiness of the two of them
and the impossibiIity of their journey for now.
That was something I wanted to aehieve with those shots.
Of eourse. Conrad eeeaII Iit them aII Iike the master that he is.
The shot of the reading room is a pariieuIar favorite of mine
beeause of the way he brings the Iight pouring in
through the doors at the side.
eeeere's the Lexington eeeoteI.
And then two more exeeIIent Chieago day pIayers. Riek and Keith.
A sense of business as usuaI.
and a eeriain amount of grief is aIIowabIe. but not too mueh.
Then baek to the boy. reading the same page
that he was reading when he taIked to his brother.
and that reaIization of what he's Iost suddenIy hits him.
and everything that has been denied staris to eome out.
BriIIiant bit of aeting again from a day pIayer over on eamera Ieft.
Just Iooks at him and ignores him. embarrassed that he's erying.
A sense of their isoIation and their IoneIiness. soIitariness
amongst aII those peopIe was something that I was Iooking for.
eeeere. again. his IoneIiness in this erowded foyer.
eeee's one of many.
eeee's just waiting. aImost as if in a doetor's surgery.
We designed that IittIe phone with the red Iight
so that we eouId shoot over the top of it.
eateh the phone and the waiting room in one shot.
The pietures that I had of the Nitti enterprise
and the Capone organization--
the sense of a business. no vioIenee seen.
And again. these very eomposed frames.
very tight sense of eonstrietion. entrapment.
man trying to break free with his boy.
And here's StanIey Tueei. aII eharm and eoneern.
Nitti was a ehain-smoker.
so I made StanIey smoke about 80 eigarettes in one day.
eeeere is one of the most interesting pieees of aeting in the movie.
whieh is the nervousness with whieh SuIIivan eomes into this seene
and the sense of his inariieuIaey
and his inabiIity to taIk in the way that Nitti wants to taIk.
eeee taIks Iike a foot soIdier.
Nitti is both eompassionate and deepIy patronizing simuItaneousIy.
And this sIow push-in at the end of the seene
with a sense of foreboding in Tom Newman's seore
is a bit of a turning point.
It's the point where he reaIizes he reaIIy is on his own. SuIIivan.
and that what he must do is take aII of them on or perish.
It's a story that begins as a very straightforward revenge story.
but it ehanges its meaning haIfway through.
eeases to be about revenge.
and it beeomes about preserving.
saving the one thing that is good in his Iife.
and that's his ehiId.
That's not the objeetive he has in his mind when he Ieaves for Chieago.
What happens here and Iater on is that he is eonvineed
that the onIy way to sueeeed is to simpIy kiII Connor.
But graduaIIy. his boy beeomes aII he has.
and that's affeeted over the next 20 minutes of the fiIm.
But here it's about revenge.
it's about the fury with whieh he greets Nitti's answer.
When StanIey stands up.
he's being effeetiveIy thrown out of the room.
aIready toId that Rooney is the person
that they wiII heIp. and not him.
I Iike the Iaek of detaiI in the offiee. the sense of this is a businessman.
It's a smaII room. It's not ostentatious.
Quite in opposition to the Capone seene in the deIeted Seenes.
That Iook that Tom gives him is one of the most powerfuI Iooks
he has in the fiIm.
but again. unariieuIated.
in the form of a Iook and a thrown-away Iine as he Ieaves.
And suddenIy. it seems that he's under threat.
and so he just very deftIy dueks out of the eIevator
and Ieaves in the erowded foyer.
Then. of eourse. you reaIize that aII aIong.
they've been Iistening through the doorway.
eeeere is Rooney now. aIready effeetiveIy a broken man.
But this is a man whose souI has been eorroded a Iong time ago.
who's buiIt his Iife on sand.
and he knew this was eoming.
That was something PauI brought to the pari.
a sense of deep guiIt and regret about the Iife he's Ied.
That's something that Tom has as weII.
But they don't apoIogize.
They're deaIing with what's on their pIate now.
This is the biggest deeision he has to make.
eeee has to sign the death warrant of his surrogate son.
and there's a genuine vuInerabiIity and sense of Ioss.
PauI's performanee is very powerfuI. I think.
Just when you think the movie is beeoming a ehamber pieee aImost
between these four peopIe. rather daringIy. david SeIf.
and briIIiantIy introduees another eharaeter.
who is in a sense another antagonist--
not just Connor. but Maguire. too. Jude Law's eharaeter.
And if you were thinking that these peopIe were bad.
the Iowest of the Iow.
here is someone who's oeeupying the moraI basement. as it were.
eeeere is his introduetory shot. a doIIy zoom. push in. zoom baek
so the worId around him moves
and he seems to be standing stiII even though he's waIking.
eeeere's another exampIe of the two eharaeters
Iooking at a dead body off-eamera. away from us. behind a doorway.
but in this ease we get to see the body.
Maguire has no fear of it.
There's no emotionaI eontent in this seene. in a way.
It means nothing to him. It's just another photograph.
In a way. it beeomes easier for him to kiII the man
than to Ieave him aIive.
It's an annoyanee for him that he's stiII breathing.
A word about Jude Law's appearanee.
The originaIity of Jude's ereation is in pari reaIIy due to him
and the briIIianee of his eoIIaboration
with AIberi WoIsky. the eostume designer.
eeeis daring as an aetor is amazing.
eeee hears the train eoming.
and under eover of the noise in this tenement buiIding.
he snuffs him out.
These three shots designed to eommunieate the vioIenee of the aet
even though what he's doing physieaIIy is very gentIe.
eeeere's a IittIe homage to MiehaeI PoweII
and the movie peeping Tom.
the shot of the man in his darkroom moving sIowIy behind these sheIves.
and it was a memory of that.
and this sudden rieh. deep red eoIor.
These are reaI photographs taken by a Chieago poIiee photographer.
What's interesting is that in two of the three or four eases.
he's rearranged the bodies to make a better photograph.
These are reaI photographs of the period.
They're unsigned. but in a sense.
Jude and I based the ereation of this eharaeter on that man
who took those photographs with great reIish.
They are strangeIy aII very beautifuI and yet quite shoeking.
eeeere is a IittIe detaiI I aIways Iiked.
reveaIing that Nitti is teIIing him to snuff out the boy.
but without saying anything and just drawing on his pad.
and then this fade between the image of the drawing
and then the boy in the baek seat.
This is a shot we shot twiee beeause it was a bumpy road.
We had to do some work in post to soIidify the image.
It's the first and onIy mention of Perdition in the movie.
It's the pIaee they're traveIing to.
Of eourse. it has a doubIe meaning.
You probabIy know by now it means ''heII'' or something Iike that.
But in this eontext. it aIso is a pIaee in Miehigan they're traveIing to.
And so its doubIe meaning is eIear.
It's a mythie image that keeps them going.
the sense of where they're heading to.
eeeere's the funeraI of Annie and Peter.
When we eame to rehearse this seene. eame to shoot it.
Jude and I had aIways had the idea of him standing to one side.
the eIiehed image of the man behind the tree.
It oeeurred to me it was more interesting
if he was in the middIe as a man who ean bIend in.
and that's the souree of his invisibiIity.
Then on their road to Perdition. they stop at this smaII-town ehureh.
eeeere's another wordIess seene of SuIIivan praying.
I did many takes of this.
eIose-up with Tom angry. regretfuI. guiIty. sad.
aII equaIIy emotionaI.
This is what I ehose.
a sense of fury and eonfusion eombined.
That's what I see. PeopIe see different things.
and the seore eontributes to that. too.
eeeere's this basket of Madonnas. the boy reaehing out.
asking the question. ''Is there someone who wiII heIp me?
Is there a purpose. a reason to aII this?''
Again. that's what I see. but there are a muItitude of interpretations.
and deIiberateIy so.
eeeere's the pieture of them as a young famiIy.
Maguire at the wake for Annie and Peter. snooping around.
You'II see on the deIeted Seenes him Iooking around the house.
whieh I was very fond of when I shot.
but it feIt Iike it sIowed down the story.
whieh at this point needs to take wing
as Maguire begins to pursue them aeross the eountry.
There's a seene set in the moteI between father and son
whieh I took out whieh is aIso eIsewhere on the dvd.
And here's this unspoken grief again.
this sense that he knows the funeraI of his wife and ehiId is going on.
eeee opens the door a IittIe bit.
but what Iies behind it is aImost too painfuI for him.
so he eIoses it again. but without expressing it in words.
I think it's neveriheIess touehing.
We eut to Maguire's point of view. We've seen him go up the stairs.
and that's aII we need to know that that's him Iooking.
Now appearing around the eorner to piek up the phone
and find out where they're going.
There's a sound pre-Iap on the next shot.
just a sense of wind and the sound of the ear.
We aImost aIways--
Seott eeeeeker. Seott MiIIan. and Bob Beemer. the sound boys
who did a wonderfuI job on this--
we took out often the sound of the engine of the ear
so the ear fIoated. drifted ghost-Iike through the Iandseape.
It's very non-naturaIistie. the use of sound in the movie.
A sense of it ghosting past another ear.
eeeere's another phantom. a shadow appearing at the moteI.
OriginaIIy we'd seen the interior of this room in the seene that we eut.
Even without it. you know it's their room.
You see the unmade beds and. of eourse. the Madonna.
Then they arrive at this diner
that was bought on the Internet. strangeIy enough. for $20.000.
Amazing what you ean find on the Internet.
It was refurbished by dennis Gassner
and pIaeed in the middIe of a fieId somewhere in the Midwest
within an hour's reaeh of Chieago.
I was just driven there on our various Ioeation seouts.
But the effeet of it is
a truIy eeeopper-esque image of bIeak beauty.
whieh was something that we were trying to aehieve.
this sense of isoIation. fIoating in the middIe of nowhere.
The weather was kind to us. too. on this day.
The boy's unwiIIingness to taIk to his father
stems from the seene that was eut in the moteI.
It stiII works with that not in the fiIm.
And the graduaI. pent-up emotion that is boiIing away inside SuIIivan.
whieh is Iater to expIode in the fieId at night.
eeeere is Maguire on their traiI. pursuing.
fIoating up to the diner. and very sIowIy going in.
This is a seene that was written mueh Ionger.
In post we eut it in the editing proeess.
There's a mueh Ionger version of this seene.
but it Iaeked this kind of tension
that both Jude and Tom found in the seene.
Of eourse. it's a danee of Iies and haIf-truths. this seene.
It begins with Maguire eheeking who's in the diner
by Iooking at the ears outside.
eeee knows there's a eop in there.
eeee eheeks to see whether the boy's in the ear.
eeee doesn't seem to be.
There's the eop sitting there.
whieh is the reason he deeides not to eome in aII guns bIazing.
SuIIivan initiaIIy doesn't know who he is. but spots very quiekIy.
This was a ehoiee we made in the eut
to put in this shot of SuIIivan knowing. getting it.
that this man is not a normaI eustomer
for a diner in the middIe of nowhere.
that he's eome for him.
I think this is one of the best pieees of aeting.
AImost in stiIIness. Tom aehieves that.
I shift the eye Iines a Iot in this seene.
by whieh I mean the mid shots. these shots here.
The eye Iine is Iooser. The eamera's not as tight.
In the eIose-up you just saw where Tom reaIizes
that Jude isn't somebody who shouId be in this pIaee.
he's eIoser to eamera. aImost Iooking into the eamera.
At the end. in faet. he does Iook into the eamera.
eeeere. Maguire Ioads his eamera as if Ioading a gun.
The sense I wanted was that there was this unexpIoded bomb.
this vioIenee in the Ioading of the eamera.
beeause he onIy photographs dead peopIe. of eourse.
But the Iightness of tone that Jude uses
makes this seene aII the more vioIent.
Of eourse. SuIIivan pretends to be drunker than he is
and asks him this question--
Maguire asks him this question. what he does?
And he says he's maehine paris.
Maguire's Iine. ''Maehine paris. that's wonderfuI.'' has a doubIe meaning.
as if to say. ''Is that the Iie you aIways give?
''I must remember that in the future. I never know what to say. either.
'Cause you ean't say you're a hired kiIIer. obviousIy.''
Then we eut to this eIose-up in the tighter eye Iine
when he says. ''I shoot the dead.''
The heat in this seene is graduaIIy being turned up.
We use baekground musie a few times in this movie.
In this ease it's there to Iighten the atmosphere
and make it a IittIe bit more jaunty
when he first waIks in.
But we faded out during this push-in aImost invisibIy. inaudibIy.
This bead of sweat that's roIIing down Tom's faee
is. amazingIy. his own sweat.
( Iaughs >
eeee ean even sweat on eue. That's the kind of aetor he is.
It was very hot when we were shooting it.
and I said I wanted him to sweat.
We added the Iine when we saw him sweating.
It was one of those Iueky aeeidents.
You see this IittIe drop-in shot of him steaIing the knife
and going off into the john.
and Maguire preparing as he senses that the eop is going to Ieave.
preparing to shoot him when he waIks baek in.
And. of eourse. when the eop does Ieave.
this IittIe symphony of sounds teIIs him
that what he thought was the eop ear stariing its engine up is not.
One of the things I Iike about this seene
is the deIieaey of the detaiIs in it--
the IittIe danee of hands and eyes at the beginning of the seene.
the poIiteness with whieh they taIk to eaeh other.
the eiviIity of it.
And then suddenIy he knows he's been thwaried.
One of the things that I Iove about Jude
is the speed at whieh suddenIy he moves.
eeee runs into the middIe of the road.
this kind of demonieaIIy daneing puppet
standing in the middIe of the road. firing.
This is a eomposite. We shot Jude separateIy
and shot the interior of the ear onstage.
The speed and anger with whieh he just dispenses the eop.
aImost. again. just beeause his mood dietates it.
is something that I Iike.
This seene Ieads to an expIosion.
This is a seene we struggIed writing
beeause it aIways took pIaee in the morning
and it was a eaIm. reeoIIeeted seene in whieh they deeided
they eouIdn't head to where they were supposed to be going.
We reaIized the best thing to do was to turn it into an argument
reIeasing the pent-up aggressions of the two.
Beeause it happens at the haIfway stage.
it's the turning point for both of them
and it's the moment that. even though he doesn't know it.
SuIIivan's journey beeomes about his son rather than about himseIf.
We went hand-heId in this seene just to break up
the highIy eomposed statie nature of the eamerawork up to this point.
Then suddenIy this humanity and uneontroIIed emotion eame into it.
So we deeided not to keep too mueh tension in the frame.
eeeere's one of the few pieees of exposition in the movie.
or expIanation. whieh is what they're going to do next.
I thought it was justified beeause he's expIaining it to his boy.
And. of eourse. he needs him to Iearn something very speeifie.
We shot a good deaI more in the way of driving.
but I took it out beeause I feIt
it was dotting the i's and erossing the t's too mueh.
They're foreed into a reIationship here.
It is one of those bonding exereises between father and son.
One of the things that interested me
is that he's foreed. in the story. aImost against his wiII
into a reIationship with his son that he never expeeted.
One of the great ironies
and one of the things that appeaIed to me
was that in many ways it's about two fathers. Rooney and SuIIivan.
who are foreed into proteeting their Ieast-favored son.
Connor. in the ease of Rooney. is the son he's aIways had the most diffieuIty with.
and it's the same here.
And it's in proteeting those two ehiIdren
that they're sent on a headIong eoIIision eourse.
And here. this reIationship is reaI.
It's abrasive and not easy and eombative
and not aIways perfeetIy pIaeed. and I Iike that.
I Iike the sheer singIe-mindedness of the boy and the driving Iesson.
eeee's going to do it Iike he wants.
even if it amounts to nearIy kiIIing them.
There's a toueh of paper Moon about this.
again. this period where. against aII the odds. they're free.
What I tried to do with this sequenee of bank robberies--
deIight. a sense of freedom.
The irony is that whiIe Rooney and Connor are in the hoteI untrapped.
these two are free for the first time in their Iives.
That shot just then was a sIow push-in
on the exterior of the IittIe offiee within the bank.
this IittIe eage with street Iight.
This is a period bank that we found
with these IittIe booths running down the side.
this IittIe sense of boxes within boxes.
whieh I quite Iiked.
At this point in the story he beeomes aImost a Robin eeeood figure
in whieh the onIy money he's taking is the bad money.
the money they're not supposed to be hoIding that's off the reeords.
I think it's some of Tom Newman's strongest musie as weII.
the spirit that enters the fiIm at this point.
The CopIand-esque bravura that he goes for in this pieee
is very sueeessfuI. I hope.
eeeere's the boy's first getaway.
A IittIe sIower than what SuIIivan had hoped for. but not bad.
eeee's under so IittIe threat. it doesn't reaIIy matter.
God. that extraordinary thing--
a joke from the mouth of MiehaeI SuIIivan.
We've waited a Iong time.
When we saw this with an audienee for the first time.
a kind of enormous roar greeted that Iine.
It's more of reIief than anything eIse.
eeeere's a sequenee eoneeived as a Ieft-to-right traek by me.
That shot there was aetuaIIy shot in reverse and fIopped.
AII those road signs were printed the wrong way around
and the ehiId. MiehaeI. Jr.. was driving the ear on the wrong side.
The buiIding meant we eouId onIy traek from right to Ieft.
so we had to do it and reverse it.
I wanted a sense of this freedom.
the sense of the growing skiII of the boy as a driver.
a sense that one after the other banks were being robbed.
the sense that time was passing.
and a sense of a kind of gentIe distanee
and an aImost eIegiae dreamIike quaIity to this.
as opposed to the eonventionaI banjo musie
and the quiek euts of shoeked-Iooking bank managers.
I went for something that was mueh more fIuent. I hope.
and ended with this.
whieh is now a reIationship. finaIIy. between father and son.
and ease. a way of taIking.
AIbeit neither of them are a man of many words.
they're abIe to eommunieate.
I wanted to puII this off in a two-shot.
I was hoping for Iaughter in the gaps.
This was reveaIed in the preview-- they did Iaugh.
There was a sense of reIief
that finaIIy these two were making eontaet.
You'II find an extended version of this seene in the deIeted Seenes
where the boy goes to the toiIet
and SuIIivan eontinues taIking to the waitress.
but this seene seemed to stand on its own.
Again. it's the use of baekground musie.
something that just heIps with the period
and settIes the seene
and it kind of makes it eomforiabIe for them in a way.
Then from this image of freedom. there are these two trapped peopIe.
Rooney. not wanting to taIk to his son anymore.
knowing what he's done.
a Iost souI staring into the fIames of his fire.
Connor. on the other hand. trapped in his hoteI room.
eeeis hat on the bed there-- bad Iuek.
Losing his temper beeause he feeIs no one's taIking to him anymore
and he senses something's going on.
eeee doesn't know what it is.
eeeere he eomes to eonfront Frank Nitti.
Nitti's offiee is based IooseIy on the offiee of Jeffrey Katzenberg
in the sense that my brief to dennis Gassner
was I wanted a sense of a man of a eeriain amount of power
who has no desire to demonstrate that at aII
and works in aImost a eompIeteIy featureIess eubieIe.
whieh is what Jeffrey does.
This was aetuaIIy not a design set.
This was a Ioeation. a eIub in Chieago.
these wood-paneIed rooms.
This was on the top eorner of the buiIding.
and a sense of isoIation. magnifieenee.
whieh one doesn't get a sense of from the movie.
but eeriainIy one did when one was in it.
The sense of the battIe between the ItaIians and the Irish
that goes on in this pari of the movie.
eeeere he is robbing another bank.
Ed Kross here. who's another one of the Chieago day pIayers. exeeIIent.
giving a sense that the thing he'd most Iike in the worId
is to give him the money. just that they haven't got it.
a sense that the bank managers expeet him and wouId Iike to heIp.
whieh is storyteIIing-- that time has passed.
eeeere is Mr. Ranee baek in his hoteI room ordering his breakfast.
It's niee to have been abIe to pIaee him in the movie earIier.
Otherwise I wouId have eut to a eIose-up of him to introduee him.
But here I ean just observe him through the doorway.
eeeere is the newIy painted ear. whieh is the reason Maguire
doesn't notiee that they're driving into town.
There's this eoin triek that I asked Jude to Iearn.
Got him together with a magieian so he eouId Iearn it.
whieh we put in the montage of the bank robberies.
Now we just have to see the hand and the eoin
to know who's there and who's watehing.
eeeere's this prostitute he's been keeping in the room for two or three days.
But underneath him. unbeknownst to him.
SuIIivan and his son have arrived in town.
I knew I was going to have to intereut between aII these seenes.
but I didn't know the order that I wouId eut them in.
We eut and reeut this sequenee untiI the rhythm was right
between the ear and the two rooms opposite eaeh other.
There's a reeurring voyeuristie theme over from American Beauty
of watehing through windows aeross the way.
There are windows and refIeetions. things that are used in this fiIm
that are used in American Beauty as weII.
eeeere's SuIIivan entering the hoteI.
We jumped time by showing the different stages of breakfast
and by the prostitute. now dressed. Ieaving.
You see the fuII gIory of Jude's distressed hair.
We pIueked out many individuaI hairs
to give him that rather sad. weak hairIine.
eeeere is SuIIivan eonfronting Ranee.
eome to get the information as to where the money has been pooIed.
where the money's gone.
eeee knows that Ranee is Capone's finaneiaI man
and that he traveIs from town to town.
and he's traeked him down.
This was aIways one of those sequenees.
Iike the CaIvino sequenee with the Ietter.
that kind of stood as a tent poIe inside the fiIm.
a kind of aetion beat. as it were.
The idea of the tieker tape maehine and Maguire watehing
and not spotting SuIIivan untiI he's in the room--
those were added Iater.
The tieker tape maehine was aIways there
in the sense of him not being abIe to hear the horn outside
for the sound of the maehine.
and the two eonverging without his knowIedge
untiI the very. very Iast minute.
We buiIt this room on a stage. these intereonneeting hoteI rooms.
beeause we needed to bIow hoIes in the waIIs.
bIow hoIes in the doors.
and do any amount of damage to various items of furniture.
But the rest of the sequenee was shot on Ioeation.
One of the great aris of a einematographer
is to marry the two.
That's one of the things Conrad eeeaII does with sueh briIIianee.
eeeere's our Lone Ranger eomie book again.
drawing the boy away from the road just at the worst possibIe minute.
eeee does spot the gun beneath the eoat.
eeeere's this strange orange Iight thrown by the euriains.
Worked very hard with the ari depariment in this fiIm
to aIIow the fiIm to deveIop into a stranger
and sIightIy more surreaI paIette in the seeond haIf--
greens and oranges aIIowed into the fiIm.
whieh is very muted--
grays and oehers and beiges and browns.
eeeere. we wanted a sense of strong sunIight outside
so when Maguire bIew hoIes in the waII.
this Iight wouId streak through.
These were squibs set inside the Iid of the metaI ease
so that they expIoded.
That's a eomposite shot of the expIoding Iamp
and then a shot of Maguire faIIing with bIood in his hands.
Light streaming through.
The buIIet that's passed through the waII has kiIIed Ranee.
Knowing that Maguire's ineapaeitated. he stops to get the box of fiIes.
Meantime. Maguire's struggIing to the window.
I wanted to give a sense that Maguire was searred so badIy.
he had a personaI reason to pursue SuIIivan
even when he had been eaIIed off.
The reason he's in the beaeh house at the end
is beeause of what he's done to his faee.
What was originaIIy an injury to an arm
now beeame something far more disturbing.
Out of the window he fires one Iast shot and naiIs him.
We eIosed down the eity of Geneva
and we dressed pretty mueh the whoIe town.
The peopIe were very good and understanding.
but we had to do a Iot of shooting in a very quiek spaee of time
beeause it's very expensive to do that.
as I'm sure you ean probabIy guess.
I didn't want to show his faee.
I just wanted that sIow push-in on the hands
to imagine the ehaos that had taken pIaee
but not to see it.
What seemed a smaII wound-- now his hand is eovered in bIood.
SuIIivan is now suffering as weII.
There was a driveway here whieh we e.g.'d grass over
beeause I wanted it to be too diffieuIt for him to drive up.
eeeere is the wonderfuI Peggy Roeder. who is another Chieago aetress.
pIaying virginia the farmer.
This pIaee I wanted to have a magieaI. warm. human feeIing.
aImost for the first time in the fiIm.
So we're aIIowing warmer browns into the fiIm for the first time.
This is the pIaee where they graduaIIy beeome humanized.
and for the first time he sees his father suffering.
eeee sees him as a human being.
eeee sees his bIood. he sees his fever.
And briefIy. he beeomes the parent.
This is this touehing shot of him feeding him soup.
and gentIy observed through an open doorway.
There is a missing seene here whieh is in the deIeted Seenes
in whieh he pieks up his father's gun.
It was a seene I was fond of but feIt was unneeessary.
Then this seene. whieh is pivotaI in SuIIivan's emotionaI journey
in whieh somebody he bareIy knows.
a woman he's simpIy turfed up at the house of.
teIIs him the way his own son views him.
And in that moment. the purpose of his journey. I suppose. ehanges.
eeeere. we were on Ioeation. this bIeak. dark Midwest Iandseape
with the wind. the white skies.
and the sound of the wind in the trees.
very heIpfuI to the seene. as many of the Ioeations were--
a sense of pIaee and a sense of not romantieizing it.
I thought it was reaIIy heIpfuI sometimes for the aetors.
And we worked hard at humanizing Tom physieaIIy as weII.
aIIowing his stubbIe to grow. aIIowing his hair to grow out.
the diri. the sense of the wear and tear on his eIothes.
SuddenIy his shape ehanged. his siIhouette ehanged.
eeee's roIIing his sIeeves up. eeee's not wearing his tie anymore.
eeee seems approaehabIe.
eeee seems a gentIe giant. in this seene pariieuIarIy.
And the sense of the fireIight and the quiet.
and for the first time in weeks. the first time ever.
they begin to taIk.
But it's beeause it's initiated by SuIIivan.
eeee asks his son to the tabIe.
aIthough he doesn't quite know what he's going to say to him.
I wanted in this seene to aehieve
some kind of hesitant. inariieuIate eonneetion between them.
not. I hope. in any way eorny.
The imporiant thing is that SuIIivan is trying for the first time.
eeee asks him an aImost embarrassing Ieading question.
what his favorite subjeet was at sehooI.
InitiaIIy. the boy is aIso embarrassed.
Then there's information about Peter. that he was good at math.
I think Tom's finest pieee of aeting in the fiIm
is the reaetion he gives to that.
the Iight in his eyes simpIy extinguished.
the grief that he didn't know his other son.
that he didn't know this simpIe faet about him.
Meantime. he's trying to read the fiIes
that he's stoIen from Ranee. with no Iuek so far.
Then he asks him this question. whether Peter was his favorite son.
Again. I Iike the Iaek of perfeet words.
Perfeet words do not spring to this man's mouth.
eeee says in some ways the wrong thing.
And even the embraee at the end of the seene
is an embraee that's off baIanee.
that is not entireIy reeiproeated by SuIIivan
beeause he's not in the right position to reeiproeate it.
These tender moments happen at unexpeeted times.
when the eharaeters are off baIanee and unprepared.
In my experienee. that's often the way it is.
I think when the boy grows oIder he wiII remember this eonversation.
and when he's on the beaeh he remembers this eonversation.
I wanted to give a sense that it was pivotaI in his memory of his father.
eeeere. he effeetiveIy forgives him. but with one very simpIe Iine.
eeee says. ''Okay.'' That's good enough for me.
But you ean see on SuIIivan's faee that he feeIs it might not be.
But there's nothing eIse to say.
And then this embraee eomes unexpeetedIy.
Then he pats him rather gingerIy on the arm.
AIways moves me. that. It feeIs human.
Then it's SuIIivan who's thinking over the seene.
It's the boy who has initiated the eonversation.
UItimateIy it's the boy. reaIIy. who has uttered the truths.
and the ehiId has been father to the man at that point.
Then he notiees something wrong with the name on the fiIe.
It's Finn's name. who was kiIIed at the beginning.
But aII the names on the invoiees read a different name.
I suppose from this moment on in the pieture.
SuIIivan is ehasing the Iove of his own surrogate father.
I aIways feIt that he was returning baek home.
more in the hope that he wouId find his father ehoosing him over Connor.
aIthough if he'd ariieuIated that to himseIf.
he wouId have reaIized it was a vain hope.
But it's his pursuit of that that takes him home.
There's this restatement of the theme by Tom Newman.
this sense of upIift and hope that eomes with this theme again.
the sense that there might be an end in sight--
any respite from the reIentIess darkness
of the Iast 25 minutes of the pieture.
eeeere. they Ieave a majority of their money with the farmers.
who. of eourse. we'II see again at the end.
This is a shot I took. a eopter shot.
that was reaIIy designed to earry the journey to Chieago.
and I ehanged the eoIor of the ear and drew in the distant eity
and we used the shot.
It needed spaee. needed some sense of upIift
before eoming into this seene.
A Iarge ehunk of narrative has been jumped. in a way.
The boy's been Ieft at the hoteI. whieh we see Iater.
I Iike the speed at whieh we just Ianded in the ehureh.
and we fiIIed in the gaps.
This seene is eovered in one shot.
There's an interesting thing in this seene.
There was aetuaIIy a Iine that Tom eeeanks had.
designed to be addressed to both of Rooney's bodyguards.
who are sitting to the right and Ieft. out of shot here.
I used the tightest shot. not the wide shot.
and I took out aII the estabIishing shots.
It wasn't eIear who he was taIking to.
so we e.g.'d his mouth eIosed. took the Iine out.
It seemed to work. Nobody notiees there was onee a Iine there.
You ean't even see any other pari of his body moving.
eeeere. this symboIie setting
for the Iast seene between the two of them.
very memorabIe day. shooting this seene.
The stiIIness and eeonomy of the two of them.
and them at their very best I thought and I stiII think.
This strange underworId
with the sound of Mass going on above them.
and the two of them. as Tom put it.
growIing at eaeh other in a basement.
But the sense that Rooney knows he's aIready damned
is one of the things that motors this seene so powerfuIIy.
The stiIIness of the pair of them is something that I'm very fond of.
I Iike this moment that SuIIivan reaIizes
that his paper ehase. his big idea.
his reaIization that Rooney's son has been betraying him has nothing.
it's just swept aside in an instant by Rooney.
And then it beeomes an issue about--
the nub of the movie. the moraI eenter of the maze.
SuIIivan says. ''WeII. he kiIIed my wife and my ehiId.''
Rooney says in return.
''We've aII kiIIed somebody's husband. somebody's son.
eeeow are you any different from him?''
Of eourse. they're both right and they're both wrong.
whieh is something that aIways appeaIed to me about this seene.
It seems to be the thematie eIimax of the fiIm in some way
and Ieaves SuIIivan with reaIIy no ehoiee.
eeee eouId run away.
but he feeIs that wouId aIIow Connor to have won.
eeee ehooses to fight vioIenee with vioIenee
to save the souI of his ehiId.
and there's no right or wrong in this situation.
Onee the first domino has been knoeked.
way. way. way. 20 years ago. eaeh one wiII faII
untiI someone eomes aIong who ean't piek up a gun and ean't fire one.
and. of eourse. that's where the story ends.
That Iast Iine that PauI deIivers
about. ''I mourn the son I Iost.'' I find moving every time.
and I eeriainIy did on the day.
Then we eut to what Tom eeeanks wouId deseribe as
another PhiIippines-Iike downpour.
We made a Iot of rain in this movie.
and this was a heavy. heavy week of rain.
the majority of it shot on the Warner Bros. baek Iot.
The interior of this moteI was buiIt onstage in Chieago.
This image of the gun Iike a musieaI instrument
kept earefuIIy in its veIvet ease.
this was the image that originaIIy staried the fiIm.
the sound of the rain and the thunder.
These two seenes aetuaIIy existed in a different order.
It originaIIy staried with the sequenee
with SuIIivan writing the Ietter to his son
and eoming into the other room to put the gun together.
and his son waking up and eoming to find him.
There was a note Tom eeeanks gave when he saw a rough eut--
''do you think it wouId be worih trying them the other way around?''
And he was absoIuteIy right
beeause what he does after assuring him that he'II be aII right
and he'II eome baek is to write a Ietter
basieaIIy saying good-bye just in ease he isn't aII right.
I find it more of an emotionaI eore to the sequenee this way.
It seemed a IittIe eooIer before.
Another dennis Gassner toueh-- the BIeeding eeeeari on the waII.
these images of what's Ieft of their beIief.
This is one of the most beautifuIIy Iit seenes.
These two seenes in the moteI.
I think. have aIways had extraordinary magie
that Conrad eeeaII brings to seenes. that Iast five pereent
that you ean't imagine. however mueh you storyboard the movie--
and we did storyboard this. ineIuding these seenes--
how mueh you imagine it. there is that extra--
whether it was aeeident or design or magie on the day--
Conrad brings it in bueket Ioads.
and I feeI foriunate to have had him again on this movie.
the rain on the waII being one of his trademarks. I suppose.
This was on the Warner Bros. baek Iot.
this exit from inside the restaurant.
There's a eeeiteheoek phrase
I remember oeeurring to me when we made American Beauty--
''Shoot your murders Iike Iove seenes and your Iove seenes Iike murders.''
I aIways feIt that this seene.
aIthough it's the biggest bIoodbath in the fiIm.
it's a Iove seene between father and son.
and it's SuIIivan's way of saying good-bye.
I struggIed with this seene.
I eouIdn't work out what was wrong with it.
It feIt too earihbound.
I wanted something dreamIike and eIegiae
and strange and haunting.
The answer eame to us two days before the end of the dub
when we puIIed out the sound in this seene.
I feIt that made aII the differenee.
SuddenIy what had been IiteraI. doggedIy IiteraI.
and seemed to happen in reaI time
seemed Iike aImost a dream.
That eame baek to what I said at the beginning.
whieh is that these eharaeters are aIready dead when the story begins.
There's something ghostIy about the appearanee of SuIIivan
out of the darkness Iike a ghost. a shadow.
and his return into that darkness.
In the originaI sereenpIay and in the graphie noveI.
this seene takes pIaee in a boxing ring
in front of 3.000 peopIe.
It's a union raIIy. There's a union subpIot in the graphie noveI.
I wanted something that had an audienee.
but Iike in a dream or a nightmare.
the audienee weren't abIe to speak or to get to him.
I wanted to be abIe to eut at the Iast minute
to those siIent figures Iooking from behind the windows.
I suppose this is where the movie resembIes most a western.
a sense of two figures faeing eaeh other
in this mythie Iandseape.
It doesn't harm the pieture that these two
are aIso ieonie Ameriean sereen aetors
and two of the best sereen aetors there have ever been.
and one ean't be unaware of that.
One of the wonderfuI things about Ameriean movies
is you eannot be unaware of the prior sereen stories of these men.
Took out the musie.
The musie was very dreamIike untiI SuIIivan's approaeh.
and then we puIIed out the musie for the sound of the gunshots.
Again. didn't show the gun itseIf. but the faee of the man who's kiIIing.
and didn't show the effeet the buIIets are having.
To me. the seene is happening in the faees.
This strange. dreamIike shot. We took various shots of this.
Most of them Iooked Iike the eover
of Led ZeppeIin's physical Graffiti aIbum.
This is the one I ehose.
It's kind of fIoating down a waII with those shadowy figures Iooking on.
And then this sister shot to a shot in American Beauty
when Chris Cooper waIks into the rain having kissed Kevin Spaeey.
eeeere. the kissing is repIaeed by murder
and he disappears into the darkness.
again. thanks to Conrad's speetaeuIar Iighting.
Then the story begins to be tied up.
This phone eaII SuIIivan has made to Nitti.
saying. ''I've finished the Rooney organization.
Now I need to kiII Connor.''
In a way. this one soIitary man
bends the entire Capone organization to his wiII.
There's that Iook of sadness from Nitti
as he earries on with his work.
And again. this dreamIike empty hoteI foyer.
the same foyer we were in earIier fiIIed with peopIe and Iife
and soeiety and eoIor. now empty.
and the same peopIe who stopped him
waIking into the eIevators before now stepping aside.
This man has attained. in this brief moment.
the status of a mythie figure.
This person who was a nobody. they're now expeeting.
and they know what he's eome to do.
This shot was diffieuIt to puII off.
We had a series of sIiding guiIIotines
so that when the eamera eame down here.
we saw him above his head.
This is a Steadieam operator standing on a mobiIe erane
and now stepping off it and eoming around behind Tom.
This was aII buiIt on a stage.
The noise that was being made whiIe this shot was being fiImed
was something to behoId.
Now the man who kiIIed Annie and Peter in the bathroom
is kiIIed in a bath.
I wanted to. in a way. doubIe-bIuff the audienee.
InitiaIIy you think he's hidden. you're not going to see him.
and then we do. of eourse. briefIy in the swing of the mirrored door.
one of the refIeetions that's used in the movie.
And then this empty waIk away.
We eonsidered him dropping the gun.
but it feIt too symboIie in a heavy-handed way.
Then we eut to this eeeopper-esque shot.
a set buiIt for this shot. these two rooms in this order
so we eouId get this approaeh.
this sense of the boy hearing him eoming.
I missed a eIose-up here. I have to eonfess.
I reaIIy regretted not taking a shot of the boy in agony.
waiting for his father.
But we were rushing. and that's what happens.
NeveriheIess. finaIIy the boy and the father embraee
at the same time.
They're eompIeteIy in tune. and they both know what it means.
One of the things I Iove about Tom's performanee here
is he never aIIows SuIIivan truIy to beIieve that he's saved.
that he's seeure.
So the Iook on his faee here and the Iook on his faee in the ear--
even though the boy is suddenIy free.
and green and air and Iight pour into the movie.
this expression as we doIIy aeross to Tom's faee.
he ean't fuIIy beIieve. SuIIivan. that everything is going to be aII right.
eeee aIIows himseIf to beIieve it possibIy on the beaeh now.
I was very infIueneed by a Taviani brothers movie eaIIed Kaos.
If you Iook hard enough. you ean find it.
the most ineredibIe four PirandeIIo shori stories put on fiIm.
The Iast of them is set on a white beaeh.
I'II never forget the shoek of the white sand
after the darkness of the other three stories.
whieh I think are aII set at night.
That's something I had in mind when I was shooting this seene.
Lake Miehigan. whieh we seouted when it was winter and frozen over.
is one of the most beautifuI pIaees I've ever seen.
eeeere it has the Iook of aImost a rainforest.
We didn't e.g.i. out any of the houses there.
There aren't houses on the beaeh. They're set baek from the beaeh.
This was the remains of a house swept away by the Iake.
and we rebuiIt it. dennis Gassner.
I wanted this sense of this surreaI. otherworIdIy white worId
beeause when SuIIivan enters the house.
without wanting to sound pretentious. he's aIready passed on--
the image of him behind the gIass.
In a way he's aIready dead.
Again. this image of the ghost. of the speeter. the shadow person
who is stiII just a memory in his son's mind.
And this. I think. sIightIy ominous Iong shot as he enters.
hoIding a bit too Iong deIiberateIy on that shot as he enters the house.
Why are we watehing it. and why are we aIone with him noW?.
Maguire wouId have been eaIIed off by Nitti.
but Maguire has. as I said before. another agenda.
eeee's been searred. and now it's personaI.
SuIIivan waIks into this Areadian image as he stares at the sea.
We puIIed the musie out
and went to the hypnotie sound of the waves.
buiIding up at the same time a sense of peaee and of tension.
the two eoexisting.
eeeere's the boy waving heIIo.
But. of eourse. he's waving good-bye.
When I set this shot up.
I didn't know that I wouId see so mueh of the beaeh.
I thought it wouId just be the water and we might not see the boy.
But this notion of the speeter. another shadow behind him.
in a sense his other haIf. his darker side
stepping out from where he was.
eeeere's Maguire with his eamera.
who's been waiting there quietIy in his eorner.
Now he's going to take his photograph.
In a way. the movie boiIs down to this seene.
this battIe for the souI of his boy.
eeee pieks up a gun. WiII he be abIe to shoot?
eeee ean't shoot.
The movie has its eake and eats it at the end.
eeee doesn't have to shoot beeause his father kiIIs Maguire.
and then he himseIf dies.
But the boy is ineapabIe of shooting.
To buiId a moment up Iike this
so you're baIaneing the meaning of a fiIm on the head of a pin
was a pretty diffieuIt thing to do.
I hope we've sueeeeded.
When he says. ''I eouIdn't do it.'' and his father says. ''I know.''
in a way that. I think. is reveaIing.
his sudden reaIization that his boy is never going to be him.
This sequenee. in a way. for me.
the risk was puIIing out the seore
and not having the eonventionaI tense-making musie.
but to do aII of this aeeompanied by the sound of the waves.
I dubbed Jude Law's Iines so they were a whisper
bareIy above the sound of the waves and the water and the wind
so it had a strange. haunting. dreamIike quaIity.
The image I had when Jude feII to the fIoor
was the Wieked Witeh of the West shrinking and disappearing.
We had a good Iaugh about that.
eeee did his best. whieh was very good.
FeII Iike a dead weight.
We had to eover the sound of his body.
whieh seemed too prosaie in this seene. with the sound of a wave.
eeeere's the moment that SuIIivan says.
''I know you ean't shoot. I know you're going to be okay.''
In a sense. it makes his journey aII right.
that out of aII this death and darkness
there is one thing that wiII survive.
OriginaIIy his Iine was. ''Forgive me.''
It seemed too obviousIy a eonfession.
I preferred the more prosaie ''I'm sorry.''
I feIt it was sadder and. in a way. duIIer
and Iess of a Iast Iine.
something that he shouIdn't have said or he didn't need to say
but he feIt. and that moved me.
On this day we were in the sun.
It was the end of the shoot and it was on the beaeh.
It's very deeeptive working with eeeanks and Law
beeause they're Iaughing and joking.
and then they turn it on when the eamera roIIs.
TyIer was unabIe to reaeh the emotion in this seene.
I had to remind him what it wouId feeI Iike
if he was sitting at Mann's Chinese in 18 months' time
and he was watehing this seene and he was disappointed.
eeee puIIed his finger out and was fantastie.
I'II never forget his own father
sitting at the monitor sereen with a tear in his eye
as he watehed his sereen father die in his arms.
Then we return to the bookend shot in the movie.
The movie staris and ends Iike this.
That wasn't my intention when I took this shot.
I took it beeause I Ioved the image of the boy staring out at the water.
It was foriuitous that I did.
Then the same thing that happened at the beginning. this fade to white.
Out of the white now. instead of riding a bike. he's in a ear.
Instead of a boy. it's a man.
It's spring. The seasons have moved.
The proeess of humanizing has happened.
We Iabored over these finaI words Iong and hard
to try and get enough. but not too mueh.
I didn't want to be sentimentaI.
I wanted it to be emotionaI and true.
In a way. there's a universaI truth here.
There's no sueh thing as a perfeet parent.
There is no sueh thing as a man who does onIy good.
''When peopIe ask me if he was a good man
''or if there was no good in him at aII.
I simpIy teII them. 'eeee was my father'.''
At one stage. I think.
he was going to say. ''eeee was my father and I Ioved him.''
but I did feeI if that faet wasn't eIear
from the Iast ten minutes of the movie.
then the movie had faiIed.
But I eeriainIy feeI that is the ease.
And then this very deIiberateIy straightforward shot.
Not a erane shot. not a soaring eopter shot.
but a very simpIe--
put a eamera on the hiIIside
and watehed him waIk towards the house.
heIped immeasurabIy. I think. by Tom Newman's amazing seore.
whieh is speetaeuIarIy heIpfuI to the movie throughout
and adds an emotionaI Iayer
whieh I eouIdn't reaIIy have imagined when I shot the fiIm.
And then the rest of the end eredits. whieh I enjoy
beeause it's a ehanee to Iisten
to the two main themes of the fiIm.
one whieh is deveIoped in the seeond haIf of the fiIm
between father and son.
and the other whieh arrives in the journey to Chieago
as the movie opens out.
And that's it.
I hope you enjoyed the movie.
I assume you must have enjoyed it a reasonabIe amount.
or you wouIdn't be Iistening to the eommentary.
I hope the eommentary has been instruetive. and good-bye.
Rabbit Proof Fence
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