Mystic River review by John

Mystic River is a story about revenge. Revenge for a childhood lost. Revenge for a daughter. Revenge for an estranged wife. Above all things it is that.

The movie starts in the early childhood with three friends playing hockey. Jimmy(Penn), Sean(Bacon), and Dave(Robbins) come into a predicament when they are caught vandalizing municiple property and Dave is taken away by two men posing as cops. What these men did with Dave while they had him holed up in their basement for four days is never actually mentioned but it is certainly elluded to.

Next we move to the crux of the story. Jimmy's daughter turns up missing. He finds this out when she doesnt show up for work at his store the morning following a girls night out. It turns out that Jimmy's daughter was murdered. To further complicate the situation Dave comes home on the night of her murder with a cut on his torso and a very badly damaged right hand. Sean, being a police officer, completes the unceremonious reuniting of friends as their lives have diverged since childhood.

Logically you assume that Dave is the one who killed Jimmy's daughter and the viewer is never given a reason to seriously consider that someone else may have done it. Even when Sean argues vehemently with Whitey Powers(Fishburn), more on the name later, that Dave could never kill someone and that he, Dave, is basically incapable of such a thing, you really get the feeling that Sean is covering for his old friend because he feels bad about what happened to Dave as a child.

There are a couple of twists and turns leading up to the end. Which is reminiscent of Scream in that you are never given any reason to even think of the eventual killer as such(that was a spoiler). The twists leading up to the end are nothing of significant value and certainly nothing that would keep the average viewer interested given the directors style of movie. And even while watching this, which i felt was 'good', i still wanted to say 'damnit man. you will never bottle the lightning that was Unforgiven. Just please stop trying.'

Which brings us to Penn. Best actor? for this? please. I can't pretend that I have seen all of the oscar nominated movies but I would still have to consider it a travesty of justice if Penn won on name recognition alone. I can accept when an old actor is 'given one' as a recognition of a life time of good acting, but i dont think that is the case before us given Sean Penn. His dramatic moments in this movie seemed very Dean-ian in his over exaggeration of the moment.

Now the part where I quibble. Whitey Powers. The only black guy in the movie(for the most part) is Laurence Fishburn. His characters name is Whitey Powers. Is that a joke. A running joke of the movie? Like in Airplane where Leslie Nielson keeps asking to not be called Shirley. Mystic shouldn't win for best movie based on that alone. But there is more. Jimmy's goons are named Savage. The Savage brothers. Could we just have called them hired goon one and hired goon two? I mean at the point that you get a little silly in your best picture nominated movie shouldn't you just go the extra mile and see how much the academy will accept. But as I mentioned earlier this really just a minor quibble. The real point should be that I enjoyed that Eastwood doesn't go Tarentino and make every relationship a major indepth involvement. The point should be the larger story - +1 Mystic River. Robbins was damn good in this movie - +1 Mystic River. It was actually a good story - +1/2 Mystic River. The movie did drag and I have to presume that its Eastwoods style to do that and thusly it is fully intentional; however - -1 Mystic River.

And there you have it. This movie was a 6. Too bad the point scale doesnt accommodate half points.

6 out of 10 Jackasses
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