The plot is simple.
It is about 3 friends who grow up together in the same neighbourhood, in similar circumstance, except for an incident of childhood sexual abuse that still scars one of them (tim robbins). The characters, Jimmy Markum (Penn), Sean Devine (Bacon) and Dave Boyle (Robbins) that have all come to live their own separate ways, reunite following the death of Jimmy's oldest daughter, Katie (Rossum).
Clint Eastwood's directorial genius is eveident from the flow of the sequences right from the start. The summer of 1975- the retro, mid-town america comes out alive on screen right in front of you. In every scene, their character streaks arte as obvious as can be - the rebellious nature of jimmy, the submissiveness of dave, the 'evil' intent of the priest, the paedophilic cop - it's all as convincing as can be. And im glad it is so, coz thats what takes on the entire movie into the plot. Its like the perfect starter for a brilliant meal.
Fast forward to 25 years to the present day Clint Eastwood has framed 3 of the best characters to ever grace the screen. The story grips as Tim robbin's character - DAVE is haunted into adulthood by his childhood trauma, and he becomes a primary suspect when Jimmy's daughter, Katie, is found murdered. Sean, assigned to investigate the crime, and he finds himself facing both demons from the past and demons in the present as the circumstances surrounding Katie's death are uncovered.
This is where the magic unfolds. I shall confess that the story was just the average joe for me. I could very well predict all of it. But what kept me glued is the PERFORMANCE and the DIRECTION in every sequence!
(i add in direction not so much for the scenes as much as for the direction in acting terms)
SEAN PENN's depiction of a hard, edgy personality maimed by the death of his daughter is REAL. His sobs, his rage, his desperation, his cold determination, his tears - all his emotions and feelings - all of it - it makes you wonder if he ever ACTED his part at all! If ever an actor thinks he acts too good, i bet watching sean' performance in this movie would change his mind.
For soem reason i tried comparing his performance to SHARUKH KHAN and AMITABH BACCHAN... and it really made me smirk. Yes, they can surely come close - but SEAN would still be wayyyy ahead!
Moving over to another brilliant performer who adds to the experience - Tim Robbins. The confusion, the trauma within, the feel of the growing psychosis, the meekness of the character - post SHAWSHANK, he seems like the man who was made for the role. All together i can say this is a film BASED on the acting. The perfortmances are the true MOVIE. The tragic story of the loss of the youth is as real, full of human flaws, disturbances, prejudice and judgements as can be.
I am not much of a literature person but yes, having read a lot i cudnt help but get a hint of a shakespearean essence from the movie. The whole drama of emotions is very Shakespearean - as though it were a Macbeth/Othello set in the modern day america. The whole idea of simple human beings being cast into a ocean of strong emotions and its consequences and that being the Theme is overbearing - typical to shakespeare.
AND YES - the one thing i hate (and love) about CLINT EASTWOOD - the blooody philosphical OPEN ENDINGS! it's here too! and it kinda pisses u off a bit. wondering what the hell has happened!
Whatever it maye be, the movie was still goddamn worth it. The memory still remains, the experience can still be felt and the performances play on over and over again in my head even now! Yes, the plot is simple. But hell what a movie!
The official MYSTIC RIVER trailer:
SEAN's scene from the movie:
WHAT A PERFORMANCE!
We bury our sins, we wash them clean.