Mystic River (2003)

Mystic River is an Academy Award winning Motion picture, directed and co-produced by famous actor Clint Eastwood. Released in 2003, it is based on the highly acclaimed 2001 novel by Dennis Lehane, the novel having the same name. Brian Helgeland adapted the screenplay. The movie stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon and Laura Linney.


On the release of the film it shook the box office in the United States and was highly acclaimed across the universe. The critical acclaim got the motion picture six nominations at the academy awards besides five golden globe nominations, and four BAFTA film awards. Clint Eastwood got the Golden Coach Award at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie won two Academy Awards besides a number of other awards.


The film starts in the Summer of 1975, where three boys namely, Jimmy Markum, Sean Devine and Dave Boyle are playing in the streets of a working class neighbourhood of Boston City, when one of them is abducted and sexually abused over a course of a few days before he finally runs away from his kidnappers. The incident scars Dave, the victim of the kidnap, who, even after a few decades, is still haunted by the memories of the incident. Jimmy Markum, an ex-convict, now runs a neighbourhood store, and is Dave’s friend and also got his nineteen-year-old daughter, Katie, married to Dave. Katie suddenly goes missing one night. Investigating the case is Sean Devine, now a homicide detective soon discovers Katie’s dead body. Jimmy distraught by his daughter’s death gets determined to trace down her killer, by running his own investigation parallel to that of Sean’s. Jimmy with his connections with the underworld, traces down the fact that on the night of the murder, Dave came back home to his wife, drenched in someone else’s blood, claiming that he was the victim of a mugging situation and that in an attempt to protect himself from the mugger he has accidentally killed him. The suspicions rise when no case of a dead body besides that of Katie is reported. This situation makes, Dave the main suspect of the murder. Dave did see Katie on the night of the murder when he was at one of the bars where Katie was partying with her friends and had planned to elope with her boyfriend, Brendan Harris the very next day. Brendan because of his estranged family ties with Katie’s family is also seen as a suspect to the murder. The mystery continues as each of the three lead characters are forced to deal with demons of the past while they uncover secrets of the past as well as the present. The winding situations lead to a very interesting twist in the plot.


The movie is a screenplay adaptation in which the actual novel has been incorporated almost wholly. Very few scenes from the novel have been left out in the movie. The movie talks about lasting friendship and trust. It shows how very seemingly minor incidents can change a person’s life drastically. It also shows the bonds that come from family ties of a blue-collared catholic family with the rest of their neighborhood. But it basically addresses the extent to which a father can go to avenge the death of his daughter and the grief that comes from losing a loved one.


The movie is one of Sean Penn’s finest works as an actor in his role as Jimmy Markum. Tim Robbins has given a performance as a supporting actor as Dave Boyle, which touches the heart of the viewers. Kevin Bacon, Laura Linney, and Laurence Fishburne have also given wonderful performances. Clint Eastwood yet again has directed a masterpiece, which must be seen by every drama, thriller and murder mystery lover.


Kritika Ramona Santram

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