Sunday, 5 December 2010

Mystic River


I haven’t read Dennis Lehane’s novel, on which it was based, but I’ve just watched Clint Eastwood’s movie, Mystic River. The film garnered several Academy Award nominations, and two Oscars, and I’m not surprised. It is very involving.

Three small boys are playing in a Boston street, years ago, when a pair of paedophiles abduct one of them. The lad escapes, eventually, but is permanently affected. The rest of the story is set in the present day, when the three boys have grown up. But that past event continues to haunt them.

One of the boys (Sean Penn) is an apparently reformed villain, whose beloved daughter goes missing. When she is found murdered, the case is investigated by the father’s childhood chum (Kevin Bacon) while sympathy is offered by the man who was abducted in his youth (Tim Robbins.) A series of misunderstandings, rooted in that abduction, lead to terrible consequences.

The performances of Penn, Robbins and Bacon are uniformly excellent. I did not know that there really is a Mystic River – it turns out to be the backdrop for a grim execution. This is a restrained piece of film-making, but all the more powerful for that. I was impressed.

8 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - I'm very glad you liked this one. I think you bring up a very important point about it, actually. The very fact that the film doesn't go to excess makes it that much stronger and more engaging. Nice review

seana said...

I thought both book and movie were excellent. The storyline can be very hard to take at times, though, and for some it proves to be a dealbreaker.

Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

Martin, I'm glad you brought this movie up to our attention. A superb example of a great adaptation of a book to the screen, in my opinion.

Deb said...

MYSTIC RIVER reminds me, in a way, of Tana French's book IN THE WOODS in that they both deal with the aftermath (many years later) of childhood abductions. If you haven't read French's book (the first in a loosely-connected trilogy that also includes THE LIKENESS and FAITHFUL PLACE), I strongly recommend it.

Ann Best said...

I was impressed, too, when I saw it. Now your post reminds me of it, and I think I'll watch it again (since I never remember too much the first time around!). Thanks for this review!
Ann Best, A Long Journey Home

aguja said...

I enjoyed reading both your post and the ensuing comments. I do not know either the book or the film, but shall look it out as it sounds as if it is worthwhile reading or viewing.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And the book was equally impressive. Lehane has been pretty lucky with the film adaptations.

Martin Edwards said...

Many thanks for your comments.
Deb, I'll put French on my list! Thanks.