Mystic River (2003) – another way to spend some time on a long flight

Mystic River (2003)

Here is another film that I have heard loads about (the acting of Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins, the directing of Clint Eastwood, the filming in Boston) and never got around to watching. It is captivating and the Oscars for Penn and Robbins were clearly well-deserved. Not sure who beat Clint for the directing Oscar but this one was tight and clean from a directing point of view as well. In some ways, The Town (2010), which also features Bacon, has a similar take on the poorer sides of Boston. Dark, foreboding, full of innuendo…

The way that the Mystic River revolves around the three principle male characters and their intwined destinies is original. And it does seem that life can suddenly take decisive turns around seemingly random incidents. Here, as boys, the three are playing hockey in the street when the boy playing a young Tim Robbins is picked up seemingly by cops but in reality by child molesters and sequestered and abused for four days before escaping. This experience we live with him through shattered flashbacks particularly of the escape through the woods. The 19-year old daughter of Sean Penn (who is the tough one in the band of young boys) is murdered early in the film and our suspicions turn to the Robbins character immediately. The Kevin Bacon character is a Boston forensics investigator and is called into this case before he realizes the links to his own past. What follows is the funeral and wake of the dead girl and the investigation for finding the murderer in parallel by Penn (who is a sort of mini-gangster with a growing empire on Boston crime as we discover piece-by-piece during the film) and Bacon while the Robbins character goes into meltdown over guilt. I won’t give anything away except that the ending is both inevitable and surprising.

Definitely worth renting if you haven’t seen this one.


About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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