Mystic River, American/Australian Movie (2003)

I think that just about the worst thing that can happen to any parent is losing a child. I don’t have any kids myself unfortunately, but I can pretty much imagine what would go through my mind if something like that would ever happen. But I guess I am saying something wrong here, because I don’t think anyone could ever imagine how you would react if a situation like that were to occur. In the powerful drama Mystic River, director Clint Eastwood deals with this question. And the answer is more heartbreaking than you could imagine.

Mystic River focusses on three childhood friends, that have pretty much lost touch with each other, after a childhood tragedy. One of them, Dave Boyle has come out the worst, and has become a shadow of his former self. As for his two former friends, Jimmy Markum and Sean Devine they also each have their own troubles to deal with. Jimmy tries to get back on a straight road after serving time in jail, which is easier said than done. He does have a bright spot though and that his children, especially his oldest daughter Katie. One day Katie doesn’t come home, and a sense of unease begins to creep up on him. It soon becomes clear that something terrible has happened to Katie, and when the police are sent to investigate, the lead officer assigned to the case is Sean. However, blinded by grief, Jimmy is heading down a very dangerous path to find justice for his little girl. When Dave Boyle might have something to do with the fate of Katie, it seems that some sins just can’t be buried.

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This movie is just about one thing: acting, pure and very simple. There are no explosions, high speed chases or any other things like that in this movie. What we do get is a very gripping and powerful crime drama, masterfully directed by Clint Eastwood. Star of the movie is Sean Penn in the role of the grieving father Jimmy. You can say what you like about this so called bad boy of Hollywood, but oh man can this guy act. The scene in which he finds out what could have happened to his daughter (shown in the picture above), just sends a chill down my spine. It is so real, that you would almost forget that this is someone who is acting. He got an Oscar for this role and deservedly so. But he is not the only one, as Tim Burton who plays the role of the tragic Dave Boyle also received the golden statue. His role just manages to hit all the right notes, and as such it is a character you grow to care about.

Movies like this are pretty much the reason I became a fan of the cinema in the first place. Sure I like action, horror and scifi a lot, but I also love powerful acting and great storytelling, and that is what this movie serves up for more than two hours. One could argue that Mystic River is just a little bit too long, but that would be nitpicking. All in all Mystic River is just a fantastic movie, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has a warm heart for the cinema.

I give Mystic River a 9 out of 10 score.

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