Mystic River (2003) Review

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Three childhood friends who’s lives were changed forever in the summer of 1975 when Dave Boyle was taken away by two men. His two friends Jimmy and Sean were left watching as he was put into the back of the car. Then in the present day a tragedy brings the three back together again.

When Dave was abducted he was subjected to several days of sexual abuse before he manages to escape, this has therefore had a huge impact on his whole life and totally changed him as a person. Jimmy is an ex-con and his daughter Katie is found dead linking Dave with the murder. That leaves Sean who just happens to be the homicide detective who is working on the case. It was never going to be straightforward when past demons come back to haunt him, all while his marriage has fallen apart.

When it is revealed that Katie had a boyfriend and a gun is found belonging to his father he seems to be the number one suspect. But Jimmy just cannot see past Dave who is totally messed up due to his childhood trauma. Even though Dave never actually lies and tells the truth about what he did that night it was never going to be enough for Jimmy.

The film moves at a good pace and keeps you guessing throughout as you wonder if the friendship these now men had in childhood would mean anything after 25 years. I think that is something that makes this film so good the way you just want them to be able to work everything out, but also knowing that it won’t be a nice happy ending in that sense. It makes you feel so empty at times and that I guess is how life gets everyone at different times.

Something else I really enjoy about the film is the score, it is haunting at times and really does make some of the scenes even more outstanding. That is something I have grown to love in a film directed by Clint Eastwood, especially when he composes the music himself.

Performance wise that is what makes this film outstanding. Oscars were given to Sean Penn in a Leading Role and Tim Robbins in a Supporting Role. Both of which were more than deserved. Robbins stole every single scene as the tortured Dave and that was something truly unique, giving him a brilliant performance deserving every single bit of praise. Again Penn is very impressive as well, but I guess I am now wondering when he is not? He carries himself well during this sharing some great scenes with Robbins. I guess I feel a little bit sorry for Kevin Bacon as he is good but totally overshadowed by his co-stars. The rest of the support cast is very high quality, all of these components making for a truly engaging and impressive film. Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden and Laura Linney in those roles, you really couldn’t go wrong.

This was not the first time I have watched this film, but I am guessing I struggled after my first viewing to actually put thoughts together for this complex and thought provoking from start to finish. Can you ever get over key events that happen in your childhood if they are so haunting?

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