Rated R for language and violence.
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Written By: Brian Helgeland
Based On The Novel By: Dennis Lehane
Staring: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Marsha Gay Harden, Laura Linney, Laurence Fishburne, and Kevin Chapman
You do death alone, but I coulda helped her with the dyin’ part. -Jimmy
With a childhood tragedy that overshadowed their lives, three men are reunited by circumstance when one loses a daughter.
Everything you think you know about these character’s and what’s happening is not at all what you will expect. The curious turns this story takes, and the painstaking moments of revelation are disturbing. Both Sean Penn’s and Tim Robbin’s Oscar’s were well earned in this slow paced mystery drama. As an entire film it was shot beautifully, and was clearly one of the best movies of 2003.
Clint Eastwood is almost better as a director than an actor. As one of the best actors in the last fifty years, to be a better director is a huge achievement. His films have a personal feel to them, and he really allows the actors to showcase their talents. Everyone that works for him claims what joy it is, and that clearly shows on the big screen.
The melancholy feel of this film is overwhelming, and while slow paced is incredibly intense due to the performances by Penn, Robbins and Bacon. There is a very natural development each character takes to proceed into the next element of story telling, and Eastwood lets the actors take their time getting there. The pathos of the story is structured around the character’s rather than the events, which makes everything feel more intimate.
What does actually happen and the way the character’s react to the murder in their town is portrayed in a way that feels believable to the audience, though I admit to catching an important piece of information early on, that is only later clearly revealed. It was enjoyable to take in the dynamics of each character and determine what I believed to be the truth of the mystery throughout. Everything about Mystic River, is surrounded by subtle nuances, that determine the fate of our character’s and the revelation of the murder.
The most engaging part of Mystic River was the acting. It was some of the most genuine performances I’ve seen in a long time. The realistic way each of the character’s were depicted made them even more tangible. Sean Penn as Jimmy was talked about quite a bit, but Tim Robbins as Dave, the abused child stuck in a mans body was heartbreaking.
I truly enjoyed Mystic River. At points it was difficult to watch, and some of it rang so true it was impossible not to empathize with. The unveiling at the end does have it’s predictability, but it teaches a true lesson. Kevin Bacon’s character Sean comments early on the film about Jimmy, “I don’t know him now, I used to know him.” It was clearly the best summation of the entire film. The Verdict? Great movie.