Mystic River (film)
Mystic River is a 2003 American neo-noir mystery crime drama film directed and scored by Clint Eastwood, and starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, and Laura Linney. The screenplay, written by Brian Helgeland, was based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane. It is the first film in which Eastwood was credited as composer of the score.
Mystic River was nominated for six Academy Awards at the 76th Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Penn, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress for Harden, and Best Supporting Actor for Robbins. Penn and Robbins won in their respective categories, making Mystic River the first film to win both awards since Ben-Hur in 1959 and until Dallas Buyers Club in 2013.
Three Irish-American boys, Jimmy Markum, Sean Devine, and Dave Boyle, are playing hockey in a Boston street in 1975, when Dave is kidnapped by two men and sexually abused for four days before managing to escape.
25 years later, the boys are grown and, while they still live in Boston, have drifted apart. Jimmy is an ex-con running a neighborhood convenience store; Sean is a detective with the Massachusetts State Police; and Dave is a blue collar worker continually haunted by the abduction and rape. Jimmy and Dave are still neighbors and related by marriage. Sean's pregnant wife, Lauren, has recently left him; she frequently phones him, but never speaks during their calls. Jimmy's 19-year-old daughter Katie is secretly dating Brendan Harris, a boy from a family Jimmy despises. Brendan and Katie are planning to run away together to Las Vegas.
Katie goes out for the night with her girlfriends and Dave sees her at a local bar. That night, Katie is murdered, and Dave comes home bloodied and injured, telling his wife he fought off a mugger and possibly killed him.
Sean and his partner, Sergeant Whitey Powers, investigate the murder, while Jimmy conducts his own investigation using his neighborhood connections. Sean discovers that Katie apparently recognized her killer and that the gun used to kill her, a .38 Special revolver, was also used in a liquor store robbery in 1984 by "Just Ray" Harris, the father of Brendan. Harris has been missing since 1989, but Brendan claims he still sends his family $500 every month. Brendan also feigns ignorance about Ray's gun. Whitey suspects Dave, who keeps changing the story about how his hand was injured. Dave continues to behave strangely, which upsets his wife to the point she leaves their home and tells Jimmy she suspects he might be involved in the murder.
Jimmy and his friends confront Dave. Jimmy admits to Dave that he killed "Just Ray" for implicating Jimmy which resulted in his imprisonment. Dave reveals to Jimmy that he did kill someone that night, but it was not Katie; he beat a child molester to death after finding him with a child prostitute. Jimmy does not believe Dave and pulls out a knife, but promises to let him live if he confesses to Katie's murder. However, when Dave admits to killing Katie, Jimmy kills him and disposes of his body in the adjacent Mystic River.
Meanwhile, Brendan, after finding his father's gun missing, confronts his younger brother "Silent Ray" and his friend John O'Shea about Katie's murder. He beats the two boys, trying to get them to admit their guilt. As John pulls out Just Ray's gun and is about to shoot Brendan, Sean and Whitey arrive, having connected a 911 call to the two boys; they disarm and arrest John and Silent Ray.
The next morning, Sean tells Jimmy that John and Silent Ray confessed to killing Katie as part of a prank gone wrong. Sean asks Jimmy if he has seen Dave, as he is wanted for questioning in another case, the murder of a known child molester; Jimmy does not answer. He thanks Sean for finding his daughter's killers, but says, "if only you had been a little faster." Sean then asks Jimmy if he is going to "send Celeste Boyle $500 a month too?"
Sean reunites with his wife and his daughter Nora, after apologizing for "pushing her away". Jimmy goes to his wife, Annabeth, and confesses. She comforts him and tells him he is a king and kings always make the right decision. At a town parade, Dave's son is sad as he waits for his father. Sean sees Jimmy and mimics firing a gun with his hand, to let Jimmy know he is coming for him as Jimmy spreads his arms that he is ready too.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 88% based on 206 reviews, with an average rating of 7.77/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Anchored by the exceptional acting of its strong cast, Mystic River is a somber drama that unfolds in layers and conveys the tragedy of its story with visceral power." At the website Metacritic, which utilizes a normalized rating system, the film has a weighted average score of 84 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote "Clint Eastwood pours everything he knows about directing into Mystic River. His film sneaks up, messes with your head, and then floors you. You can't shake it. It's that haunting, that hypnotic."
The film earned $156,822,020 worldwide with $90,135,191 in the United States and $66,686,829 in the international box office, which is significantly higher than the film's $30 million budget.