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Mystic River (2003)

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The lives of three men who were childhood friends are shattered when one of them has a family tragedy.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

Brian Helgeland (screenplay), Dennis Lehane (novel)
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Popularity
791 ( 249)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 53 wins & 142 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Penn ... Jimmy Markum
Tim Robbins ... Dave Boyle
Kevin Bacon ... Sean Devine
Laurence Fishburne ... Whitey Powers
Marcia Gay Harden ... Celeste Boyle
Laura Linney ... Annabeth Markum
Kevin Chapman ... Val Savage
Tom Guiry ... Brendan Harris (as Thomas Guiry)
Emmy Rossum ... Katie Markum
Spencer Treat Clark ... Silent Ray Harris
Andrew Mackin Andrew Mackin ... John O'Shea
Adam Nelson ... Nick Savage
Robert Wahlberg ... Kevin Savage
Jenny O'Hara ... Esther Harris
John Doman ... Driver
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Storyline

In the summer of 1975 in a neighborhood in Boston, 3 kids, Dave Boyle and two of his friends, Jimmy and Sean, are playing on the sidewalk when Dave gets abducted by two men and endures several days of sexual abuse. Eventually, Dave escapes traumatized throughout adulthood. Jimmy is an ex-con and a father of three, whose daughter Katie, is found dead and Dave becomes the number one suspect. Sean is a homicide detective, investigating Katie's murder, ends up finding himself faced with past and present demons as more is uncovered about Katie's murder. Learning Katie had a boyfriend, ballistics later turn up a gun belonging to the father, which then puts her boyfriend as the suspect. Will Sean find out who killed Katie? Will Jimmy make it through the investigation? And will Dave ever find out what really happened when he was abducted? Written by michigans_finest

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The river has many depths. Let it wash over you. See more »


Certificate:

16 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 October 2003 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Río místico See more »

Filming Locations:

Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$640,815, 12 October 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$90,135,191

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$156,822,020
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kevin Bacon and Laurence Fishburne portray State Police partners Devine and Powers in this film. They first co-starred together as rival bicycle messengers Casey and VooDoo in the 1986 urban thriller Quicksilver (1986), a feature film where Bacon was the headliner. See more »

Goofs

In the closing credits, the producers thank the City of Canton. Canton is in fact, a town in Norfolk county, MA and not a city. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Radio Announcer #1: ...before the end of the season last year, and then re-injured it in spring training on a terrific game-saving play. You know, I was talking with...
Sean's Father: What time is this going on?
Jimmy's Father: 7:30 is the pre-game.
Sean's Father: Who'd you say was pitching tonight?
Jimmy's Father: Tiant's pitching.
Sean's Father: Goddamn Cuban, man. He can hurl it.
Jimmy's Father: I'd hate to be facing him.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Logos at the beginning of the film, are not animated. They are both coloured Grey and stay in the middle of the screen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Dad!: Home Adrone (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Semper Fidelis
(1888) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played by a marching band near the end
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
to rank among the 5 best movies made in 2003
23 April 2005 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Let's say it straight away: before "Mystic River" (2003), Clint Eastwood's last works had left me a little unsatisfied; particularly "Blood Work" (2002), a watchable thriller with a certain charm but without great originality. But the following year, with "Mystic River", he made a sensational comeback and quite obviously this movie, which critically and commercially gave a boost to his career is his most accomplished since "Unforgiven" (1992).

By watching "Mystic River" one can feel that Clint Eastwood, more than ever put a lot of effort into the elaboration of his movie. From a subtle screenplay written by Brian Helgeland who shows that he is a far better scriptwriter than director (as far as I'm concerned, I hated the rather insipid "A Knight's Tale" 2001), Eastwood develops an absorbing and ingenious directing which contributes in weaving a shady and even stifling by moments atmosphere. On another extent, Eastwood takes back a way that had worked for him in "Blood Work": favoring calm and patience. And indeed, on an unhurried pace, the film-maker takes all his time to shot the evolution of this detective story. More important, he made this choice for another reason: to do a thorough psychological study of the three main characters. The basis of "Mystic River" consists in a classic detective investigation (nevertheless passionating in its construction) doubled with a relevant description of the three main protagonists.

To watch "Mystic River" is like to find oneself on the edge of a forest and to disappear into it. The more the movie progresses, the more we discover three heart-broken characters because they are linked by dark events. First, Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn). We learn that he has flirted with violence and has spent a few years in jail but he seems to have become a well-behaved man: he works in a grocery store and regularly goes to church. But the death of his daughter crushed him and he is determined to avenge her. Then, Sean Divine (Kevin Bacon) who appears as a reliable and lucid cop but whose private life is hell: he experienced a failed marriage and his wife keeps on harassing him day and night. At last, Dave Boyle (Tim Robbins), a broken father who underwent a deep traumatic experience (he was kidnapped and raped by two men who claimed to be priests). The consequences are terrible: he can't communicate anymore, he can't defend himself anymore and he wanders like a ghostly figure in the streets of his neighborhood. As a matter of fact, this traumatic scene is at the root of the three characters' misfortunes. Being the very first sequence of the movie, it sets the tone of Clint Eastwood's 24th movie. It presents Jimmy, Sean and Dave playing in a street. The sky is gray, the houses of the neighborhood are bare and austere. The ball which disappears through the manhole may symbolize the loss of childhood. Then, a big black car arrives. One of the men gets out and claims to be a priest (or does he?). He orders Dave to go into the car and the latter drives away. This moment will haunt the three boys for the rest of the lives and will deeply influence their personality. Roughly, "Mystic River" demonstrates in a conclusive way how such a past dramatic event can influence our present lives.

In virtually all the critics I have read, "Mystic River" was hailed for its cast. It's true that Penn, Bacon and Robbins rank among the best American actors of their generation and I think we will never thank Eastwood enough for having reunited them. By giving a lot of depth to their respective characters, one can feel that they were giving their all, which can explain why the movie was shot in a rather short time (39 days). They may even never battle their dazzling performances. And the rest of the cast is just as equal as the whole, especially the actresses whose female characters have an important role in the story since they influence (unconsciously or not) their husbands' actions and characters.

To a third degree, Eastwood's major work is also used to denounce the deceptive superficiality of the appearances, the omnipresence of violence and the credulity of many inhabitants. The film opens with an overview of the neighborhood but doesn't show yet that it is devastated by violence. No matter what the time is. Violence is omnipresence and the fact that it touches younger generations proves that it isn't ready to subside.

At last, let's also congratulate Eastwood for the remarkable music he has signed himself with his son. With this music, simplicity rhymes with efficiency. One has just to listen to a few notes to feel an intense emotion inside us.

In the middle of all these qualities, there are just minor faults. So, Bacon is a tormented cop due to his disastrous marriage and however, we really don't know what went wrong with his wife. Is it Dave's kidnapping? Is it his trying job? This point remains ambiguous. Ambiguous is also the adjective that suits the best to qualify the end of the film. What can mean the gesture Bacon makes to Penn? But these two points let freely the way to any possible interpretation.

The contribution of the crew in Eastwood's work is total and so is my enthusiasm for "Mystic River". If you haven't seen it yet, go and watch it. You won't regret it. At the age of 73 years old, "grandad" Clint Eastwood is still in great form and given the recent triumph of "Million Dollar Baby" (2004), he seems to have decided to bring the house down again in the landscape of American cinema for our greatest pleasure.


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