Aug 052004

Mystic River (2003)

With a childhood tragedy that overshadowed their lives, three men are reunited by circumstance when one loses a daughter.

Directed by
Clint Eastwood

Drama, Crime, Mystery

Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney, Kevin Chapman, Tom Guiry, Emmy Rossum, Spencer Treat Clark, Andrew Mackin, Adam Nelson, Robert Wahlberg, Jenny O’Hara, John Doman


Most murder mysteries go the way of unleashing tension and a mounting sense of suspense and danger as the plot originating from the murder in itself reveals red herrings and a more sinister plot underneath just waiting to be discovered.

Clint Eastwood’s thriller goes a completely different direction: while the identity of the killer is still at the center of the story and is revealed in almost surprising — but plausible — sequence, this is more a powerful character study of three childhood friends joined together by the very horror of a life extinguished. All three actors make their roles their own — Sean Penn is quietly intense and devastated, Tim Robbins is the ultimate broken man through circumstances not of his control who still relives his own tragedy every day, and Kevin Bacon plays a stoic detective who also has some relationship issues of his own.

If there’s one weakness in the movie it’s the way the women are written. While Marcia Gay Harden fares better in her portrayal of a housewife who discovers what she believes to be a deadly secret involving her husband (Tim Robbins), Laura Linney, while being strong in her own role, is a little underwritten throughout and her sudden change at the end is a little inexplicable though chilling and recalls Lady MacBeth’s speeches towards MacBeth.

A very bleak take on the notion that some people never learn from the mistakes they make in life and how those mistakes come back to rip their own life apart in the most subtle of ways, one of the most emotionally dark movies of 2003 and completely deserving of its Oscar wins (for Best Actor and Supporting Actor, a feat repeated in this years Oscars for 2004) and nods.

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