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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mystic River


Based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, Mystic River is a 2003 mystery drama/phychological thriller directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon and Laurence Fishburne.
The movie starts off with a scene set in 1975 when childhood friends Jimmy, Sean, and Dave are playing baseball in the street. A man posing as a police officer orders Dave to get into his car, leading to his abduction and sexual assault in the basement of two men from which he manages to escape after four days of torture.
In 2003, Dave (Robbins) has become a timid and scarred family man whilst Jimmy (Penn) is a reformed convict and Sean (Bacon) a homocide detective. When Jimmy's 19-year-old daughter is found brutally murdered, Sean gets to investigate the case with his partner Whitey (Fishburne), taking him back into his old Irish Boston neighborhood and both of his old pals. As the investigation progresses, Jimmy vows to find his daughter's killer before the police do and both him and Sean slowly start to suspect that their strangely behaving old friend Dave might be keeping a dark secret from them.
Mystic river stands out because of its tightly constructed screenplay, which handles a plethora of characters with seeming ease whilst slowly building tension throughout the entire film. Not only does the film work as an intricately woven murder mystery but it also handles the theme of how the past influences the present with grace whilst giving all its characters sufficient screen time. The film also looks great thanks to Tom Stern's solemn cinematography and it's the first of director Clint Eastwood's films to also be scored by the Hollywood legend. My personal favorite in the director's lengthy career, Mystic River is a very solid crime drama which doesn't shy away from a consistently bleak tone. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Film and Director, winning two for Best Actor for Penn and Best Supporting Actor for Robbins who both also walked away with the Golden Globes in the same categories. It was also nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes, where it won the Golden Coach award, was nominated Movie of the Year at the AFI Awards and won Best Foreign Film at the Blue Ribbon Awards, the César Awards and the Kinema Junpo Awards in addition to many other worldwide nominations and awards.