Clint Eastwood is a master filmmaker. Only someone like Eastwood whose commanding presence on screen for decades, and his mindful experience behind the camera could bring out the kind of Oscar caliber performances from most of his A-List cast as seen in his latest directorial effort, ‘Mystic River’.
Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harding lead the pack, portraying heartfelt characters caught up in a turbulent and all too real tragedy set in a small neighborhood north of Boston. Actors Lawrence Fishburne and Tim Robbins round out the cast and help carry the weight of this despairing saga.
On a side note, as a native New Englander myself, I can say that the film is not plagued with the typical on and off again fake Boston accents that Hollywood typically pushes on the screen.
Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, which I have not yet read, ‘Mystic River’ has elements of a mystery thriller, however the real story here is the emotional horrors that an entire neighborhood endures when a gruesome murder reunites a trio of boyhood friends. The three share a common bond as survivor and witnesses of child abduction as kids. And while they may have been raised in the same neighborhood, it’s clear that the connection and loyalty between them is superficial at best.
At it’s core ‘Mystic River’ centers on the ripple effect caused by the atrocities enabled by the Boston area Roman Catholic Church where perverted priests were shuffled around to different parishes to cover up their child molestation crimes. While this event is a small part of the story, ‘Mystic River’ gives you an idea how one such incident impacts the people around the victim for the rest of their lives. This point hits hard when you consider that in reality there were thousands of innocent children that became prey for the pedophile priests.
The attention to detail includes the soundtrack, also composed by Eastwood, slowly sets the tone that lets’ ‘Mystic Rivers’ cold reality soak in, and drowns you in its sorrow. Chilled to the bone, For Movie Magazine, this is Purple.
© 2003 - Purple - Air Date: 10/15/03
USA - 2003