After three eleven year-olds from a close-knit lower middle class Boston suburb undergo a tragic experience where one is abducted and abused for four days, their lives diverge. The abducted one never overcomes the emotional trauma, another begins a life of crime, and the third becomes a cop. None ever venture very far from the neighborhood. When tragedy strikes again, their lives are gradually brought back together on a collision course that leads to some unexpected results.Mystic River is a surprisingly dark film, with a controversial denouement. It is masterfully directed, acted, shot, <more>
edited, lit and scored. It is a mostly humorless and occasionally difficult realist drama, that will undoubtedly affect most viewers emotionally in a variety of ways--you may cry, you may become angry with at least one character and the lack of just deserts, and you may find it a bit depressing, although producer/director/composer Clint Eastwood and scripter Brian Helgeland do through in a relatively minor glimmer of hope/happiness at the very end.Not that I tend to agree with awards organizations, but it should be no surprise that Mystic River has fine acting. A bulk of its many awards and nominations, including two Oscar victories, were for on screen performances. What is less recognized is the positive effect that the locations, cinematography, lighting and score have on the atmosphere of the film. Kokayi Ampah found the perfect, generic, metropolitan lower middle class neighborhoods, buildings and bars. It could be any slightly depressing, but maybe about to gentrify, suburb of Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, or any number of at least Northeastern and Midwestern U.S. cities. Tom Stern's cinematography is continually, subtly inventive. Just check out the shot of Sean Penn where shadows from a railing form symbolic jail bars on the wall behind him. The lighting tends to the late 1990s/early 2000s look that is more monochromatic and leaning-towards blue. There are a lot of well-placed shadows, often creating a chiaroscuro look. Eastwood's score is understated but very effective. And how can you not like a film where three sexy girls dance on top of a bar to jazz fusion? The story is absorbing. There is an unexpected to me, at least--I try to watch films the first time knowing as little about them as possible mystery angle that is effectively sustained until almost the end. I haven't read Dennis Lehane's novel yet, but I just ordered it after seeing the film--the film piqued my interest enough to want to explore more. But the most interesting part of the story to me, at least, was the extremely gray depiction of Penn's character, Jimmy Markum. Markum is revealed to be largely criminal, and not quite likable in his attitude towards his daughter he doesn't respect her individuality, even though she's actually an adult . Yet at the same time, he is compared by at least one character to a "king", and in many ways, he is treated as one in the neighborhood. This may or may not be meant more metaphorically by the character saying it, but it is possible to read much of the film as being about a traditional king trying to live in modern day metropolitan suburbia. In some historical and cultural contexts, surely Markum's behavior in the film would have a more noble sheen, including his "mistake". This is perhaps why poetic justice never arrives, and instead, the character is seen as contented, with his queen and court by his side, being regaled with a parade instead. In modern contexts, many kings' behavior would not be so noble, and instead we'd notice more the injustices done to the peasantry and sympathize with them. Markum's character cannot be depicted more literally as royalty, as if he were far removed from the socio-economic status of the film's peasantry although we find out eventually that he has more money to spare than most folks in his neighborhood , because it would be instead read as a moral tale of economic disparity as is exists solely in modern times. Putting everyone on a level playing field, more or less, is the only way to create a parable of how kings would be perceived, solely in terms of their decisions and actions, in our era.Of course, there is more to the film than that, and it's not the only interpretation possible in fact, it probably seems very left field to many readers , but it's worth pointing out not only as something literally interesting to contemplate, but to show the kind of storytelling depth that is contained in Mystic River--a film you should not miss.
to rank among the 5 best movies made in 2003 (by dbdumonteil)
Let's say it straight away: before "Mystic River" 2003 , Clint Eastwood's last works had left me a little unsatisfied; particularly "Blood Work" 2002 , a watchable thriller with a certain charm but without great originality. But the following year, with "Mystic River", he made a sensational comeback and quite obviously this movie, which critically and commercially gave a boost to his career is his most accomplished since "Unforgiven" 1992 .By watching "Mystic River" one can feel that Clint Eastwood, more than ever put a lot of <more>
effort into the elaboration of his movie. From a subtle screenplay written by Brian Helgeland who shows that he is a far better scriptwriter than director as far as I'm concerned, I hated the rather insipid "A Knight's Tale" 2001 , Eastwood develops an absorbing and ingenious directing which contributes in weaving a shady and even stifling by moments atmosphere. On another extent, Eastwood takes back a way that had worked for him in "Blood Work": favoring calm and patience. And indeed, on an unhurried pace, the film-maker takes all his time to shot the evolution of this detective story. More important, he made this choice for another reason: to do a thorough psychological study of the three main characters. The basis of "Mystic River" consists in a classic detective investigation nevertheless passionating in its construction doubled with a relevant description of the three main protagonists.To watch "Mystic River" is like to find oneself on the edge of a forest and to disappear into it. The more the movie progresses, the more we discover three heart-broken characters because they are linked by dark events. First, Jimmy Markum Sean Penn . We learn that he has flirted with violence and has spent a few years in jail but he seems to have become a well-behaved man: he works in a grocery store and regularly goes to church. But the death of his daughter crushed him and he is determined to avenge her. Then, Sean Divine Kevin Bacon who appears as a reliable and lucid cop but whose private life is hell: he experienced a failed marriage and his wife keeps on harassing him day and night. At last, Dave Boyle Tim Robbins , a broken father who underwent a deep traumatic experience he was kidnapped and raped by two men who claimed to be priests . The consequences are terrible: he can't communicate anymore, he can't defend himself anymore and he wanders like a ghostly figure in the streets of his neighborhood. As a matter of fact, this traumatic scene is at the root of the three characters' misfortunes. Being the very first sequence of the movie, it sets the tone of Clint Eastwood's 24th movie. It presents Jimmy, Sean and Dave playing in a street. The sky is gray, the houses of the neighborhood are bare and austere. The ball which disappears through the manhole may symbolize the loss of childhood. Then, a big black car arrives. One of the men gets out and claims to be a priest or does he? . He orders Dave to go into the car and the latter drives away. This moment will haunt the three boys for the rest of the lives and will deeply influence their personality. Roughly, "Mystic River" demonstrates in a conclusive way how such a past dramatic event can influence our present lives.In virtually all the critics I have read, "Mystic River" was hailed for its cast. It's true that Penn, Bacon and Robbins rank among the best American actors of their generation and I think we will never thank Eastwood enough for having reunited them. By giving a lot of depth to their respective characters, one can feel that they were giving their all, which can explain why the movie was shot in a rather short time 39 days . They may even never battle their dazzling performances. And the rest of the cast is just as equal as the whole, especially the actresses whose female characters have an important role in the story since they influence unconsciously or not their husbands' actions and characters.To a third degree, Eastwood's major work is also used to denounce the deceptive superficiality of the appearances, the omnipresence of violence and the credulity of many inhabitants. The film opens with an overview of the neighborhood but doesn't show yet that it is devastated by violence. No matter what the time is. Violence is omnipresence and the fact that it touches younger generations proves that it isn't ready to subside.At last, let's also congratulate Eastwood for the remarkable music he has signed himself with his son. With this music, simplicity rhymes with efficiency. One has just to listen to a few notes to feel an intense emotion inside us.In the middle of all these qualities, there are just minor faults. So, Bacon is a tormented cop due to his disastrous marriage and however, we really don't know what went wrong with his wife. Is it Dave's kidnapping? Is it his trying job? This point remains ambiguous. Ambiguous is also the adjective that suits the best to qualify the end of the film. What can mean the gesture Bacon makes to Penn? But these two points let freely the way to any possible interpretation.The contribution of the crew in Eastwood's work is total and so is my enthusiasm for "Mystic River". If you haven't seen it yet, go and watch it. You won't regret it. At the age of 73 years old, "grandad" Clint Eastwood is still in great form and given the recent triumph of "Million Dollar Baby" 2004 , he seems to have decided to bring the house down again in the landscape of American cinema for our greatest pleasure.
The strongest American movie since American Beauty (by tylerdurden19)
Mr. Eastwood has made a film of true and honest art. A film that looks up to Shakespear and actually does him justice. The depth and emotion that is in each and every scene is remarkable. All the Performances are for the ages. Mr. Penn creates a man that is deeply flawed and yet totally human. Mr. Bacon digs into a man's soul that has dealt with guilt and loss. Mr. Robins provides a man that is a child in mind and an adult in actions that is never cartoonish or ironic. The amazing Mr. Guiry makes Brendon something for the ages, a teen that is not a illustration of a teen but rather a <more>
person that has complex emotions and emotional reactions he should win the oscar, or at least get a nomination . Ms. Gay Harden never sinks to cliches for a single moment in her playing of a woman that can not trust the man she loves, yet still loves him. Ms. Linney brings to life a woman that is truely Lady Macbeth. The music, Editing, and camera work are all exceltent as well. Mr. Helgeland's screenplay is bound for oscar gold. Great job to all involved! This is a must see for any movie lover or average film patron in general.
After a while, one has come to expect mediocrity from Clint Eastwood. "Blood Work" "Space Cowboys" and "Sudden Impact" all shining examples of this. But what he has here is true; sophisticated, intricate and rewarding. Viewing is definitely recommended.Three boys, Dave Tim Robbins Jimmy Sean Penn and Sean Kevin Bacon are reunited after the murder of Jimmy's nineteen year-old daughter. Immediately, a whodunit case arrives. Sounds average, dunnit?...No. It's much more than average. What might appear as a normal murder mystery is more. The acting, <more>
particularly from Robbins and Penn, is immaculate. Robbins is still recovering from child sexual abuse along time ago. Penn, so realistically and amazingly, mourns over the loss of his daughter. Laurence Fishburne playing cop Whitey is as smart talking as ever, whilst Kevin Bacon gives a solid performance as the homicide cop investigating the case.Though the film becomes a bit uneven towards the end, this tough, brutal and uncompromising; but still, a masterpiece, and the best work Eastwood as done in years.Final Analysis: 9 out of 10
This movie is a kick in the gut. Rarely is such a brilliant cast assembled, and even when it happens, rarely do they act like this. Tom Guiry very impressive , Tim Robbins and Sean Penn show emotion that directors don't often stick in. And it comes off flawlessly. During a scene with Marcia Gay-Harden and Tim Robbins crying in their kitchen, there is an energy coming off of the screen that strikes you right in the chest. Which is really the way the whole movie works. It grabs you and shakes you, and makes you watch even when it can be painful to do so. The only reason that this film <more>
didn't win best picture is Return of the King. Any other year, and Mystic River has it. Eastwood's finest moment. Check it out--you won't be disappointed.
A Tragic Story of the Loss of the Youth in a Contemporary Classic (by claudio_carvalho)
Twenty years ago, the boys Jimmy Markun, Sean Devine and Dave Boyle are neighbors and pals, playing hockey on the street. One day, Dave is kidnapped by two men, being sexually abused, but escapes from them four days later. In the present days, each one of them followed one way in their lives: Jimmy Sean Penn is married with Annabeth Markum Laura Linney , has three daughters and has a small business. Sean Kevin Bacon is a detective, and his pregnant wife left him six months ago. His colleague is the detective Whitey Powers Laurence Fishburne . And Dave Tim Robbins is a traumatized man, <more>
married with Celeste Boyle Marcia Gay Harden and having a young son. When the nineteen years old daughter of Jimmy, Katie Markum Emmy Rossum , is found dead in the neighborhood, the three friends in childhood meet each other again, in the investigation of the murder. A tragic event happens in the conclusion of this investigation. This movie is excellent. Yesterday, I saw it on DVD and I was impressed with the direction of Clint Eastwood and the performance of the cast. It is almost impossible to highlight one actor or actress, but I was stunned with the performance of Sean Penn. It is a film based on the acting, and not on special effects, shootings or race of cars. I was very impressed, since the tragic story of the loss of the youth is very real, full of human flaws, disturbances, prejudice and judgements. The destiny of this movie in the future may be to be considered a contemporary classic. My vote is nine.Title Brazil : `Sobre Meninos e Lobos' `About Boys and Wolves'
I must admit that when i watched this movie for the first time i didn't really think that much of it. Sure the acting was amazing, but that was expected. But then something happened. I got a chance to read the book by Dennis Lehane and suddenly all the pieces fell into place. I watched the movie again and this time it was amazing.I don't know how i should interpret how my feelings toward this movie changed after reading the book. Is it a good adaptation if i like it more after reading the book? Should a movie stand so well on it's own merits that the book is not necessary? I <more>
don't know myself, all i know is that it all became so much clearer after reading the book.First of all the acting was amazing even the first time around. But still, after reading the book it was as if the characters gained one more level of depth. I have always felt that Tim Robbins is the true gem in this movie. His pained portrayal of the lost soul Dave Boyle is pure magic, seldom has an Oscar been so well deserved. Sean Penn is predictably great in his portrayal of Jimmy Markum. It's a difficult character, a person you really don't know what to think about. In one respect he is a worried father, in another respect he is a cold-blooded man with few things to like about him. The rest of the cast is solid, with Kevin Bacon the brightest star among them.When it comes to the plot itself this was where much was changed from reading the book. The trick is not to watch this as a crime-drama. Rather it's a movie about behavioral patterns, about humans. What they are capable of and what dictates their actions. There are huge amounts of sadness and melancholy to this story. Of people unable to break out of the path it seems life has chosen for them. This i think didn't really break through to me that well when i watched the movie for the first time. But the book is much more clear on this and when i watched the movie again i saw it there as well.In the end this is a triumph of two things really. First the great acting of some of the finest actors in Hollywood today, second the sensitive and thoughtful directing of Clint Eastwood. He manages to bring out Dennis Lehanes story in a way that is so understated and minimalistic at times i didn't even catch on the first time around. But if i look closely all the elements are there and it is truly a great adaptation as well as a great movie.
The ties that bind - for the good, the bad, and the in-between. (by Pedro_H)
Three young friends play in the Boston street. They start to misbehave and a car approaches and a man climbs out looking like a cop, acting like a cop and seeming to have police ID. He beckons one boy over. He says they are going to take the boy somewhere home maybe? - the others say nothing and look on, glad it isn't them.However the man is not a cop, he is a child molester/sadist and has taken him to rape and quite possibly later murder. However, several horrific days later, the boy escapes to freedom - nevertheless what happened to him and the two others will never leave them. It <more>
marks every day of the rest of their lives: and for Dave the kidnapped boy the wounds run very deep in to his flesh.I am frightened of saying it, but Clint Eastwood is now America's best director: and not only that, he is one of the bravest. This is not the most obvious film. Dark, mean and giving little security blanket to hang on to. Thankfully he has assembled the best cast anyone could ask for and all three co-leads the three street boys that go on to be men - Sean Penn Jimmy , Tim Robins Dave and Kevin Bacon Sean are excellent. Also worth a mention is Laurence Fishburne as a laconic black cop with a firm but fair attitude.This film is not really much about women nor is it flattering to them. The later actions of Dave's wife Marcia Gay Harden make little sense on any level unless clues lie on unfilmed pages of the Dennis Lehane novel. Further discussion of it would be a spoiler.The plot could falsely read as a whodunit or thriller: Jimmy's an ex-con who now runs an convenience store daughter is murdered and two main suspects quickly emerge. A boyfriend who was about to elope with her and the former abused boy Dave who had seen the girl behaving slightly wildly in a bar on the night she was killed. To make things worse Dave had come home late with a stab wound from that very night - he was "stabbed by a mugger," so he says, but the cover story makes no sense.To complicate things further Sean Bacon is now a cop on this very case with female problems of his own. Thankfully they are mostly off screen because this film has enough problems for several movies. He is no longer open friends with Jimmy, but clearly he is viewed as more than just an ex-con trying to make good. People that have read the book say that it remains true to its pages and that maybe is the reason why things happen slowly and the end is not an absolute full stop. The thriller part of exercise creaks like an old door because we have to believe that the Dave incident was a giant coincidence or he was - somehow - involved. And if so, why?I was intrigued as to why the three central characters should stay loyal to the area. What keeps them? Especially Dave who everyone views as damaged goods and not a crime victim. Even his own wife. As I said before, Jimmy runs a store where did he get the money - from crime? but has a criminal past and maybe even a criminal future if some of the people he is around are anything to go by. This is not a film that believes in total revelation.I am also puzzled by when the "present day" is meant to be. There is confusion about whose blood was found in a certain place which would have been solved easily by DNA examination. They talk only of blood groups.Hmmm...Despite its many faults this is serious and skillful film making and while I agree with another reviewer - that television does this kind of the thing better - that isn't to say that this isn't a welcome addition to the cannon of believable in outline form street drama involving imperfect people trying to make the best of things in very difficult circumstances.
"Mystic River" centers on a murder investigation involving three men - all friends as boys from a Boston working class neighborhood - who have taken different directions through life. One is an excon Penn whose daughter was murdered. Another is the homicide investigator Bacon who is assigned to the case. The third is an emotionally damaged man Robbins who is suspect. Eastwood has imbued this novel adaptation with his signature blend of grit and humanness and created a forum for high intensity drama superbly executed by the principals, most notably Penn, who wrestle with roots, <more>
regrets, recrimination, revenge, reconciliation, and much more. With plaudits from all corners, "Mystic River" is a must see for drama junkies, fans of the players, etc. A-