Mystic River (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mystic River (2003)



Critic Consensus: 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.

Movie Info

Directed by Clint Eastwood, the mysterious drama Mystic River is based on the novel by Dennis Lehane and adapted by screenwriter Brian Helgeland. Set in an Irish neighborhood in Boston, Jimmy, Sean, and Dave are three childhood friends who are reunited after a brutal murder takes place. Reformed convict Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn) and his devoted wife Annabeth (Laura Linney) find out that their teenage daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) has been beaten and killed. Jimmy's old friend Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon) is the homicide detective assigned to the case, along with partner Whitey Powers (Laurence Fishburne). Jimmy also gets his relatives, the Savage brothers (Adam Nelson and Robert Wahlberg), to conduct an investigation of their own. Jimmy and Sean both start to suspect their old pal, Dave Boyle (Tim Robbins), who lives a quiet life with his wife Celeste (Marcia Gay Harden) but harbors some disturbing secrets. Clint Eastwood won a Golden Coach for Mystic River at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovimore
Rating: R (for language and violence)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Brian Helgeland
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 8, 2004
Box Office: $90.1M


Sean Penn
as Jimmy Markum
Tim Robbins
as Dave Boyle
Kevin Bacon
as Sean Devine
Laurence Fishburne
as Whitey Powers
Marcia Gay Harden
as Celeste Boyle
Laura Linney
as Annabeth Markum
Kevin Chapman
as Val Savage
Adam Nelson
as Nick Savage
Cameron Bowen
as Young Dave
Andrew Mackin
as John O'Shea
Matty Blake
as State Trooper
Douglass Bowen Flynn
as Cop at Barricade
Jenny O'Hara
as Esther Harris
Cayden Boyd
as Michael
Charley Broderick
as Medical Examinder
Ken Cheeseman
as Dave's Friend
John Doman
as Driver
Brad R. Douglas
as Boston Police Office...
Celine du Terte
as Nadine Marcum
Bruce Page
as Jimmy's Father
Ari Graynor
as Eve Pigeon
Miles Herter
as Sean's father
Tom Guiry
as Brendan Harris
Tori Davis
as Lauren Devine
Lance Norris
as Bartender
Will Lyman
as FBI Agent Birden
Ed O'Keefe
as Priest
Celine Du Tertre
as Nadine Markum
Zabeth Russell
as Diane Cestra
Joe Stapleton
as Drew Pigeon
Anthony Taurasi
as Boston Police Office...
Jose Ramon Rosario
as Lieutenant Friel
Brian Van Kay
as Police Detective
Robert Wahlberg
as Kevin Savage
Tom Kemp
as CSS Tech
Jillian Wheeler
as Sara Marcum
Lonnie Farmer
as Lab Technician
Kris Swanberg
as Spectator
Susan Willis
as Mrs. Prior
Celeste Oliva
as Trooper Jenny Coughl...
Scott Winters
as Detective
Bates Wilder
as Loudmouth Cop
Connor Paolo
as Young Sean Devine
Douglas Bowen Flynn
as Cop at Barricade
Jason Kelly
as Young Jimmy Markum
Bill Thorpe
as Neighbor at Barricad...
Thomas Derrah
as Headstone Salesman
Jim Smith
as Reporter
Patrick Shea
as Handcuffed Man
Duncan Putney
as Solicitor in Car
Dave Zee Garlson
as '75 Police Officer
Michael McGovern
as '75 Reporter
Bill Richards
as Helicopter Pilot
Eli Wallach
as Liquor Store Owner [...
Michael Peavey
as Helicopter Pilot
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Mystic River

Critic Reviews for Mystic River

All Critics (199) | Top Critics (45)

It is in many ways Eastwood's tightest movie for some time, and certainly his darkest since Unforgiven; indeed, the ending offers as corrosive an assessment of the limits of American justice as anything in his career.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Sean Penn is so frighteningly good in this movie that he outdoes even the best of his earlier work.

Full Review… | August 7, 2004
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

There is nothing romantic about the law of the streets, and its unforgiving nature has a finality that can't be undone. Eastwood has an understanding of what it takes to live with yourself, not so much a sympathy as an appreciation.

Full Review… | April 15, 2016

The entire cast did a phenomenal job, resisting the urge to overact too much, which is what you get for a film like this.

Full Review… | July 21, 2012
7M Pictures

Powerful performances in graphic story. Only 16+.

Full Review… | December 26, 2010
Common Sense Media

American drama doesn't get any more meaty and muscular than this.

Full Review… | June 13, 2009

Audience Reviews for Mystic River



Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


Three childhood friends who share the memory of a traumatic event are brought together once more when one of their children is murdered. Clint Eastwood once again proves he is one of the best directors working in Hollywood with this extremely well acted and written crime drama. The characters on display are far more sophisticated than those found in your average mainstream thriller, and the top notch cast all get to demonstrate their thespian chops with plenty of meaty dialogue as Clint cranks up the suspense with consummate skill. I personally have always found Penn a little unconvincing and his performance here is a little over-ripe as well, but he is a suitably intense protagonist. Kevin Bacon and Laurence Fishburne are totally believable as the detectives on the case, very much in the tradition of The Wire and Oscar winner Tim Robbins is the stand out as the traumatized abductee who is beginning to fear for his sanity. My one criticism would be that I thought that the epilogue killed the mood somewhat, but as a whole it is head and shoulders above the usual cop thriller fare.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Mystic River Quotes

Sean Devine: The reality - we're still 11 year old boys, locked in a cellar, imaging what our lives would've been if we'd escaped.
– Submitted by Bryan P (3 years ago)
Dave Boyle: Are things looking any better on that Sprite....Sean?
– Submitted by Jeremy F (4 years ago)
Jimmy Markum: I remember, I was more afraid of my little daughter than I ever was of being in prison.
– Submitted by Chris P (5 years ago)
Jimmy Markum: We bury our sins here, Dave. We wash them clean.
– Submitted by Chris P (5 years ago)

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