Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Film Review: Mystic River (2003)

Mystic River (Review)
United States/2003
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...all of the pieces seamlessly blend together for a truly haunting experience."

In 1975, the lives of three children, Jimmy, Sean, and Dave, are forever changed when a stranger orders Dave to enter his car...

Mystic River continues in modern times. The children have grown up estranged, but still live in the same neighborhood and occasionally speak. Jimmy (Sean Penn) is an ex-convict running a liquor store, Dave (Tim Robbins) is an everyday blue-collar worker, and Sean (Kevin Bacon) is a detective with the state police. Their lives collide when Jimmy's 19-year-old daughter, Katie, is found brutally murdered. Jimmy decides to conduct his own street investigation, Dave attempts to hide his mysterious and bloody actions from the night in question, and Sean begins to link the pieces. The film is executed very well. As a mystery, it pieces together perfectly for a fantastic, chilling ending.

In fact, most of Mystic River is fantastic. As a crime-mystery, the pieces of this puzzle fit very well together. You have a very chilling mystery and an ominous drama. The film always feels tense and suspenseful, and it's all crafted through the superb dialogue and exchanges – that's quite the accomplishment. The three main characters are well-crafted and balanced – it never feels too heavy-handed or lopsided. Mystic River develops this gritty and grizzly atmosphere that keeps you grounded and engaged – it can send chills down your spine. From the narrative to the atmosphere, all of the pieces seamlessly blend together for a truly haunting experience. The film did feel a little fragmented towards the introduction, though – and this is a very minor nitpick as the storytelling quickly settles.

Mystic River is a finely-acted film. Sean Penn delivers a very powerful performance through his slick character – he conveys the proper emotions for a distraught and destructive character. I was more impressed by Tim Robbins' magnificent performance, though. He immerses himself perfectly into his troubled character. Kevin Bacon was also strong, but doesn't have a grand opportunity to showcase his skill. The supporting cast, which includes Laurence Fishburne and Marcia Gay Harden, is no slouch, either – they're phenomenal. Aside from the acting, the film is technically superb. The cinematography is beautiful, painting melancholic pictures with each frame. The camerawork is engaging. The music is chilling. Clint Eastwood's direction is splendid, and Brian Helgeland's writing was strong.

Overall, Mystic River is a masterpiece. It's a chilling, unforgettable mystery-drama. It delivers gripping suspense, engaging mystery, superb performances, and magnificent direction. It has a minor issue or two, but not nearly enough to hinder the haunting experience. If you love dark crime and mystery, this film is for you. Don't miss it.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, implied sexual abuse.

No comments:

Post a Comment