Jimmy Markum (played by Sean Penn), Sean Devine (by Kevin Bacon) and Dave Boyle (by Tim Robbins) were childhood friends near Mystic River in Boston. Now adults, Jimmy and Dave both still live locally – Jimmy runs a local grocery store and has had a stretch in jail but he’s been out for a while now – he’s raised his three children in the area; Dave is living with his wife and son nearby; but Sean has moved away and is a detective in the NYPD. The apple of Jimmy’s eye, his 19 year old daughter, Katie (by Emmy Rossum), is brutally murdered in the neighbourhood and Jimmy is heartbroken. Sean is assigned to the case with his partner, Whitey Powers (Laurence Fishburne). As the investigation unfolds, Dave appears to be the prime suspect and receives more and more focus from the police. His world begins to crumble as the attention brings painful memories from his youth to the surface once again – 25 years before, the three boys were playing in the street when suddenly Dave was abducted by two men with police badges. He was subjected to days of sexual abuse before he escaped and the trauma has haunted him ever since. Dave’s wife Celeste (by Marcia Gay Harden) has supported him through all his troubles but she’s frightened by his moodiness and depression. Jimmy’s wife Annabeth (by Laura Linney), is devoted to Jimmy but is dealing with her own grief, so she is a bit keener to see a resolution. Sean has moved away from the area to get away from the psychological stress surrounding Dave’s abduction but he has an estranged and emotionally damaged wife, who calls him but never says anything. He loves her and vainly hopes they might be able to reconcile. Jimmy is enraged and is not dealing with any of this very well – he is determined to find his daughter’s killer and deal with him before the cops find him.
Once again, Clint Eastwood delivers a magnificent movie here. The performances are marvellous and the depiction of these damaged characters is superb. Sean Penn is brilliant as the intense Jimmy, Kevin Bacon brings the isolated Sean to life and Tim Robbins is magnificent as the quiet and secretive Dave. Very well done Laura Linney also. Mystic River seems a scary, moody and risky place to be and the entire movie (cinematography, music, characters and dialogue) permeates this into your senses as you watch. It is totally compelling and just haunting.
The movie is based on the 2001 bestseller by Dennis Lehane, At the 2003 Academy (Oscar) Awards, Sean Penn won the Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Tim Robbins received the Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
Made 2003. Directed by Clint Eastwood