138 Min. | Crime – Drama – Mystery | October 2003
IMDB Rating: 8.0
Director: Clint Eastwood
Staring: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon
Mystic River Review: By watching “Mystic River” one can feel that Clint Eastwood, more than ever put a lot of 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, 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 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 Mystic River 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. Roughly, “Mystic River” demonstrates in a conclusive way how such a past dramatic event can influence our present lives.
In Mystic River, 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 Mystic River. 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. If you haven’t seen it yet, 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. Overall, Mystic River is worth to watch.