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Mystic River (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mystic River
Dark rippling water reflects the shadowy silhouettes of three people
Theatrical release poster
Directed byClint Eastwood
Screenplay byBrian Helgeland
Based onMystic River
by Dennis Lehane
Produced by
CinematographyTom Stern
Edited byJoel Cox
Music byClint Eastwood
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • October 15, 2003 (2003-10-15)
Running time
138 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$25–30 million[2][3]
Box office$156.6 million[2]

Mystic River is a 2003 American neo-noir crime thriller film directed and co-produced 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.

The film was a critical and commercial success. Mystic River was nominated for six awards at the 76th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning Best Actor for Penn, and Best Supporting Actor for Robbins.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Mystic River - Theatrical Trailer
  • Mystic River (2/10) Movie CLIP - Is That My Daughter? (2003) HD
  • Mystic River (7/10) Movie CLIP - Admit What You Did (2003) HD
  • Mystic River Ending Scene
  • Mystic River/Best scene/Clint Eastwood/Cameron Bowen/Jason Kelly/Connor Paolo



In 1975, Irish-American friends Jimmy Markum, Sean Devine, and Dave Boyle are playing street hockey in Charlestown, Boston. After deciding to write a mural of their names in a patch of wet concrete, two men, seeming to be police officers, kidnap Dave and sexually abuse him for four days until he escapes.

Twenty-five years later, Jimmy is an ex-convict and neighborhood convenience store owner; Sean is a detective with the Massachusetts State Police whose pregnant wife Lauren recently left him, and Dave is a blue-collar worker continually haunted by the abduction and rape he suffered. Jimmy and Dave are related by marriage, Dave's wife Celeste and Jimmy's second wife Annabeth being cousins.

Jimmy's daughter from his first marriage, Katie, plans to run away to Las Vegas with Brendan Harris, a boy from a family Jimmy despises whom she has been secretly dating. One night, Dave sees Katie and her friends at a local bar. That same night, Katie is murdered, and Dave comes home bloodied and injured. He tells his wife that he fought off a mugger and possibly killed him. Sean and his partner Whitey Powers investigate the murder while Jimmy, distraught at Katie's death, conducts a separate investigation using his neighborhood connections.

A witness statement suggests that Katie may have known her killer. The detectives learn 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 monthly. Brendan feigns ignorance about Ray's gun. Whitey suspects Dave, who keeps changing the story about his hand being injured. Dave continues to behave erratically, which upsets Celeste to the point that she leaves their home and tells Jimmy she suspects Dave is the murderer.

Jimmy and his friends invite Dave to a local bar, get him drunk and confront him when he is about to vomit. Jimmy admits to Dave that he killed "Just Ray" for implicating him in the liquor store robbery, which resulted in his imprisonment. Dave reveals to Jimmy that he did kill someone that night, but it was not Katie. He beat to death a child molester whom he found with a child prostitute. Jimmy does not believe Dave and pulls out a knife. He promises to let Dave 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, after finding his father's gun missing, Brendan confronts his mute younger brother "Silent Ray" and his friend John O'Shea about Katie's murder. Brendan beats the two boys, trying to get them to admit their guilt, and then John pulls out Ray's gun and is about to shoot Brendan. Sean and Whitey, having connected the two boys to the murder, arrive and disarm and arrest John and 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, who is wanted for questioning in the murder of a known child molester. Jimmy does not answer, instead thanking Sean for finding Katie's killers, but remarks, "if only you'd been a little faster." Sean then asks Jimmy if he intends to send Celeste a monthly $500 as well.

Sean reunites with Lauren after apologizing for pushing her away while Jimmy confesses what he's done to Annabeth, who tells him he is "a king, and a king knows what to do and does it. Even when it's hard." During a local parade, Dave's son Michael waits for his father. Sean sees Jimmy and mimics a gunshot at him with his hand, whereas Jimmy spreads his arms in a “you got me” gesture.



Michael Keaton was originally cast in the role of Det. Sean Devine, and did several script readings with the cast, as well as his own research into the practices of the Massachusetts Police Department.[4] However, creative differences between Keaton and Clint Eastwood led to Keaton leaving the production. He was replaced by Kevin Bacon.[5]

Principal photography took place on location in Boston.[5][6]


Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 89% based on 204 reviews, with an average rating of 7.80/10. 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."[7] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 84 out of 100, based on reviews from 42 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[8] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[9]

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."[10][11]

On September 8, 2003, David Edelstein wrote a long article for The New York Times with the headline: "Dirty Harry Wants to Say He's Sorry (Again)." The piece examines Mystic River in the context of Eastwood's entire oeuvre, praising his “evolution [into] cinema's […] sorrowful conscience”.[12]

Reviewing the film for The New York Times on October 3, 2003, A.O. Scott wrote a long review of this "mighty" work, at one point observing: "Dave's abduction is an act of inexplicable, almost metaphysical evil, and this story of guilt, grief and vengeance grows out of it like a mass of dark weeds. At its starkest, the film, like the novel by Dennis Lehane on which it is based, is a parable of incurable trauma, in which violence begets more violence and the primal violation of innocence can never be set right. Mystic River is the rare American movie that aspires to—and achieves—the full weight and darkness of tragedy."[13]

On October 12, 2003, The New York Times A. O. Scott wrote a piece headlined "Ms. Macbeth and her cousin: The women of Mystic River" which he opened with: "One of the most haunting scenes in Clint Eastwood's Mystic River—a film that consists almost entirely of haunting scenes—comes just before the end. The main dramatic action, we have every reason to suspect, is complete ... A long, climactic night of revelation and confrontation is over, and the weary streets of Boston are flooded with hard autumnal light. The break of day brings a new insight, one that has less to do with the facts of the story than with its meaning. All along, Mystic River has seemed, most obviously, to be about those three men ... But it turns out to be just as much about three (or more) damaged families, about the terror and mystery of marriage and about the fateful actions of two women."[14]

In the New York Times, on June 8, 2004, anticipating the DVD and CD release, Dave Kehr praised the film as "a symphonic study in contrasting voices and values. Long fascinated by music as a subject, ... Mr. Eastwood here creates a genuinely musical style, using his performers like soloists, from Mr. Robbins's moody baritone to Mr. Penn's spiky soprano. Their individual arias are incorporated into a magnificent choral piece".[15]

Box office

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 its $25–30 million budget.[2][3]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards February 29, 2004 Best Picture Robert Lorenz, Judie G. Hoyt and Clint Eastwood Nominated [16]
Best Director Clint Eastwood Nominated
Best Actor Sean Penn Won
Best Supporting Actor Tim Robbins Won
Best Supporting Actress Marcia Gay Harden Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Brian Helgeland Nominated
American Cinema Editors 2004 Best Edited Feature Film – Dramatic Joel Cox Nominated [17]
Art Directors Guild February 2004 Feature Film – Contemporary Film Henry Bumstead and Jack G. Taylor Jr. Won [18]
BAFTA Film Awards February 15, 2004 Best Actor in a Leading Role Sean Penn Nominated [19]
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Tim Robbins Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Laura Linney Nominated
Best Screenplay – Adapted Brian Helgeland Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics December 14, 2003 Best Film Won [20]
Best Ensemble Won
Cannes Film Festival May 14 – 25, 2003 Golden Coach Clint Eastwood Won [21]
Casting Society of America October 2004 Feature Film Won [22]
César Awards February 21, 2004 Best Foreign Film Won [23]
Critics' Choice Awards January 10, 2004 Best Picture Nominated [24][25]
Best Director Clint Eastwood Nominated
Best Actor Sean Penn Won
Best Supporting Actress Marcia Gay Harden Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Tim Robbins Won
Best Ensemble Nominated
Best Screenplay Brian Helgeland Nominated
Best Score Clint Eastwood Nominated
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association January 2004 Best Actor Sean Penn Won [26]
European Film Awards 6 December 2003 Best Non-European Film Nominated [27]
Florida Film Critics Circle January 2, 2004 Best Actor Sean Penn Won [28]
Best Supporting Actor Tim Robbins Won
Golden Globes January 25, 2004 Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated [29]
Best Director – Motion Picture Clint Eastwood Nominated
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture Brian Helgeland Nominated
Best Actor in a Drama Sean Penn Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Tim Robbins Won
London Film Critics Circle February 11, 2004 Director of the Year Clint Eastwood Won [30]
Actor of the Year Sean Penn Won
National Board of Review December 3, 2003 Best Film Won [31]
Best Actor Sean Penn Won
National Society of Film Critics January 3, 2004 Best Film 2nd Place [32]
Best Director Clint Eastwood Won
Best Actor Sean Penn 2nd Place
Best Supporting Actor Tim Robbins 2nd Place
Best Screenplay Brian Helgeland 2nd Place
Satellite Awards January 23, 2004 Best Drama Film Nominated [33]
Best Director Clint Eastwood Nominated
Best Actor – Drama Sean Penn Won
Best Supporting Actress – Drama Marcia Gay Harden Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Brian Helgeland Won
Best Cinematography Tom Stern Nominated
Best Editing Joel Cox Nominated
Best Sound Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman Nominated
Screen Actors Guild February 22, 2004 Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Male Actor Tim Robbins Won [34]
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor Sean Penn Nominated
Outstanding Ensemble Nominated
Vancouver Film Critics Circle February 2, 2004 Best Actor Sean Penn Won [35]
Writers Guild of America February 21, 2004 Best Adapted Screenplay Brian Helgeland Nominated [36]


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  3. ^ a b "Mystic River (2003) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Archived from the original on September 14, 2021. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  4. ^ Gaughan, Liam (September 24, 2023). "Michael Keaton Almost Starred in This Oscar-Winning Clint Eastwood Film". Collider. Retrieved October 14, 2023.
  5. ^ a b Hughes 2009, p. 153.
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  11. ^ Eliot 2009, p. 307.
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  14. ^ Scott, A. O. (October 12, 2003). "FILM; Ms. Macbeth and Her Cousin: The Women of 'Mystic River'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on July 7, 2021. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  15. ^ Kehr, Dave (June 8, 2004). "NEW DVD'S; Looking Into a Dark River, Seeing the Shadow of Evil". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on July 10, 2021. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
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External links

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