Monday, February 16, 2004

mystic river

We saw Mystic River yesterday, a moody story directed by Clint Eastwood about three men from a blue-collar suburb of Boston. Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn play the trio who have known each other since childhood.

The movie opens on one fateful day when one of the boys is abducted. Years later, two of the men still live in the neighborhood. The other, Bacon, is now a detective for the state police.

The reverberations from the childhood incident continues unstopped through their lives. Penn's 19 year-old daughter is murdered, and Bacon is called to investigate. Robbins may know something about it. Penn, a former hood, is out for revenge.

As tightly as these lives are, they are no longer close.

Very good acting by all. Penn is at first the most sympathetic, while Robbins portrays a fellow who is losing his mind. Bacon is solid as the copy who is tough but also one from the neighborhood. Laurence Fishbourne is his partner, who pushes and prods where Bacon doesn't want to go.

Eastwood feels at home in this neighborhood. There is no glamour, no pot of gold at the end of this story. Only more sadness and evil.

Laura Linney, who plays Penn's wife, is exceptionally good as a supporting wife who has by the end of the movie transferred into Lady MacBeth before our eyes. Marcia Gay Harden is fine as Robbin's nervous wife, trying to make sense of human horror.

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