#25 / 365 – ‘Mystic River’ (2003) – 137 mins
IMDb Challenge #17 / 250 – Ranked #221 – Via DVD Collection
Driven apart by a childhood trauma, three men meet again 25 years later when Jimmy’s (Sean Penn) daughter is murdered, cop Sean (Kevin Bacon) investigates and loner Dave (Tim Robbins) emerges as a likely suspect. Soon an air of vigilantism begins to poison their Boston neighbourhood.
Based award-winning American novelist Dennis Lehane (‘Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island’) ‘Mystic River’ is a haunting, beautifully crafted and slow burning thriller from Clint Eastwood, who after the superb ‘Unforgiven’ gave us a few directorial disappointments along the way ‘Space Cowboys’ and ‘True Crime’ this marked a welcome return to form, to which he hasn’t looked back since.
What Eastwood does impressively well here is create a close and tense portrait of the three central characters, the film is more of a character piece with the story serving as a bit of a backdrop at times.
Winner of two Academy awards for Best Actor, (Penn) who delivers a powerful multi-layered performance as the grief-stricken father displaying rage, despair, and cold merciless anger emotions, and then Best Supporting Actor (Robbins) who lays down an assured performance for the man with the lost childhood, due to the terrible crime which sets the tone at the beginning of the film. I will give special mention to Marcia Gay Harden who is outstanding as Dave’s loving wife Celeste who heartbreakingly struggles with a great moral dilemma.