Mystic River - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mystic River Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
August 15, 2006
A masterpiece. A pure powerhouse entertainment. Sean Penn is magnificent, giving a groundbreaking and emotionally shattering performance. Tim Robbins is brilliant, a haunting and brooding performance. Kevin Bacon is terrific, a compelling and fantastic performance. Laurence Fishburne is excellent. Marcia Gay Harden is a revelation. The acting is so beyond superb, the actors go places they haven't been before and nail it dead on. A powerful cast. It's sizzling, heart-pounding and utterly shocking. The best picture of 2003. Clint Eastwood's best film as a director. An instant classic. A powerful, deeply effective, chilling and brooding thriller. A stylish, masterful, intriguing and searing mystery. Unsettling and unforgettable. It sticks in your mind and does not let go. It will keep you on the edge of your seat then take your breath away and knock you out. A true shot of adrenaline to the heart. Such a film should not be missed for it's power, suspense, tragedy and emotion.
Super Reviewer
½ July 28, 2006
Directed by Eastwood and boasting an all star cast of some of Hollywood's most talented this is a fairly gritty and believable tale with some pretty decent performances all around. A murder mystery, vigilante theme with a built up back story when mixed together make for intense viewing.

A film that will no doubt make a big impact!
Super Reviewer
December 9, 2008
Between heartfelt drama and a mystery without the suspense of pure noir, Mystic River is a delayed reaction kind of film. You want to love it right off the bat, and are given good reason with the performances of Penn, Bacon, and Robbins. Still, this plot has none of the true tautness you'd expect of such powerhouse actors. This glimpse into human behavior isn't very thorough. Sure, Penn is reliable as a bereaved father, but the criminal element that plagues his past is at first only hinted at, and then this complex backstory unfolds in the last half hour much to the viewer's chagrin. Bacon seemingly explains everything that's missing from the plot in conversations between himself and Fishburne, much like a forties era detective film. Robbins is inexplicably strange, morphing from an abused and seemingly unhinged individual with a morose past to a labyrinth of uncertainty we can't perceive from the inside or out. It's very depressing just to be morbid and touchy, but there are beautiful scenes by Penn especially, who whole heartedly deserved his Oscar win. What unsettles is more the blasphemous way the characters react to revelatory pieces of information, just accepting them with little conversation, as if everyone gets murdered, molested, and goes insane on an every day basis. This especially perturbs me when it comes to Laura Linney's performance, still as frazzled as ever, but also quietly dependent on Penn. The ending is slow, and painful to watch, a culmination that is by far the most anti-climactic decision in the film's entirety. There is beauty and angst, but it isn't the thriller you would expect from Eastwood, though he later honed his craft to a fine art.
Super Reviewer
July 6, 2011
In one of his most over-hyped directorial efforts, Eastwood have staged an ensemble cast but only manages to extract mixed performances with varying degrees of credibility from them.
Bacon gives a convincing performance unlike the rest, though he does end up delivering the most stupid lines of the movie towards its climax. Sean Penn and Tim Robbins looked more eager just to get back home and start preparing for that speech on how to thank the Academy. Robbins performance in particular, was laughable, making him look not even distinctly related to a living, breathing human being.
The climax of the movie, instead of a twist-ending, looked downright insulting to the intelligence of viewers, that is to those who possess any.
Super Reviewer
June 23, 2011
Another great Clint Eastwood film. Sean Penn and Tim Robbins was nothing short of amazing and this film made you want to reach out for the characters. Incredibly sad and moving and kept you on the edge of your seat for the entire film. Most definitely a worthy winner for an Academy Award and it's got some great twists. Shocking, poignant and a definite masterpiece. Exceptional. Also, Kevin Bacon isn't given enough credit for his role. Outstanding acting on his part.
Super Reviewer
February 27, 2011
I understood the moral of this great and moving drama
Super Reviewer
December 29, 2010
With a plot that never gets boring and a remarkably exciting climax, the film wins on entertainment value alone. Yet despite this, the story is an emotional one--the humanity and realism of the story are key to the film's success. The mystery cuts a couple corners at times, leaving a little more explanation to be desired, but all in all the film is near the top of the charts.
Super Reviewer
August 19, 2010
This is definitely a film that will have you yelling at the TV by the end. It's dark and depressing, but a great thriller nonetheless. It's backed up by a great storyline and an excellent cast. Sean Penn gave a great performance. I'm usually not a big fan of his, but he definitely deserved the Oscar. If you're a fan of Clint Eastwood films, you cannot miss this one! It's for sure in his best films alongside Million Dollar Baby. One of my favorite films!
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2008
Top-notch cast in this awesome work of melodrama. I won't even single out any one of these performances because Eastwood has assembled a beastly cast here and each comes out shining.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2010
There have seemingly been no restrictions in Clint Eastwood's directorial armoury, now spanning several decades. He can turn his hand, more than competently and reliably to any genre and this adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel is one of Eastwood's finest, especially in terms of characterisation.
In a small Boston neighbourhood, three young friends are playing, until a car pulls up and abducts one of them. 25 years later the friends have went their separate ways. Jimmy (Penn) is the local gangster, Sean (Bacon) is a police detective and the abuctee Dave (Robbins) is just trying to keep his life together after the traumatic events of his childhood. All these years later, more traumatic events falls upon these former friends as Jimmy's young daughter is murdered and with Dave displaying some very unusual behaviour, he becomes the prime suspect in Sean's investigation. The traumatic events of their past seem to be, only now in their later years, fully unravelling.
Admittedly i haven't read Lehane's book and apparently Robbins' character is given more of a back story which makes more sense to his character and his actions and has less of a whodunnit stroryline. That being said, the mystery involved in the perpetrator of the murder is the film's weakest link and the tenuous revelation of the murderer is very unconvincing which almost threatens to undo the whole thing. Thankfully though, Eastwood holds it together despite that major plot discrepancy and the film is ultimately a character study in the soul searching and what-if's throughout their lives. The whole ensemble put in fine performances but none more so than Sean Penn as the emotionally afflicted and grief ridden father. He was robbed of an Oscar a few years previously for his magnificent turn in "Dead Man Walking" but here gives a similiar emotive and heart wrenching performance and thoroughly deserves his 1st Oscar this time around. Eastwood also directs with consummate ease and adds another powerful and thought provoking film to his credentials.
It could have been a classic but unfortunately has a major flaw in the denouement and like the very fine performances, it's hard to forget.
Super Reviewer
August 7, 2010
Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River" is an intensely American crime procedural. While the story really doesn't cover any new ground, the uniformly outstanding performances elevate the material to the upper echelon of crime dramas. Stylish and emotional, "Mystic River" is one of the modern day crime classics.
Super Reviewer
July 13, 2010
What a difference seven years make. Last time I watched the dark 'Mystic River' I was about 13, so I couldn't fully comprehend just how great this movie really is. At a more mature, appreciative age of 20, I am absolutely stunned at the cinematic marvel that is Clint Eastwood's 'Mystic River'. Its power is almost palpable. Eastwood's restrained, patient directing lets the actions unfold slowly, drawing you in a little bit more with every second of running time.

But, as an actor himself, what Eastwood does best is extract great performances from his cast. Mystic River's ensemble is truly one of the best in the history of cinema. These people project so much with a look, a quiver, a sigh. Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Marcia Gay Harden and Tom Guiry stand out in a legendary ensemble cast that also includes Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Laura Linney and Emmy Rossum.
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2010
Mystic River is one of the best Clint Eastwood directed films I have ever seen. A story of Drama and Suspense, Mystic River is a top notch film. This film is one of Eastwood's Masterpieces and displays a terrific cast. Sean Penn and Tim Robbins are superb in this film and they really did deserve the Oscars they were nominated for. A powerful film from start to finish; Mystic River is a skilled drama mystery that truly delivers. This is a film not to be missed. A shocking roller coaster of emotional power. Mystic River is definitely one of Clint Eastwood's very best films. Told by a man that knows exactly how to build tension and drama, Mystic River is one of the best films in this genre of cinema. Simply put it's a work of dramatic brilliance on screen.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2010
Such an amazing movie in every way. The performances are all flawless, the plot is both realistic and tragic and the directing is phenomenal. The morbid feeling of the entire film is extremely unique and it captures a part of the city that you don't usually see. This is really the movie where Clint Eastwood became the director he is today, it is just a flawless movie.
Super Reviewer
December 7, 2009
Whenever I see "Directed by: Clint Eastwood." I say to myself: I shouldnt miss this one.
Super Reviewer
½ August 16, 2009
Up there with Million Dollar Baby, another awesome movie that Eastwood directed, although he doesn't star in this one. Very interesting seeing three childhood friends reunited and how different of lives all three took.
Super Reviewer
½ September 10, 2007
Clint Eastwood really is talented and a few of his movie are powerful dramas but he has a tendancy to have long movies that feel a bit drawn out nevertheless this is a good movie, a real emotionally powerful movie i think if anyone has seen 'Sleepers' then this will remind you of that film as they are sort of similar in the way of friends wo have something tragic happen and then another tragic thing brings them back together! But this is still a brilliant film and worth a watch especially if your a clint eastwood fan like me! Its a fantastic cast with fantastic acting that make this movie so much more watchable !
when sean penn daughter is murdered him and two other old friends are drawn together one the cop the other a suspect but what seems like the most obvious answers turns out not to be so obvious!!
Worth a watch
Super Reviewer
½ February 7, 2009
I enjoyed this movie, you have to be in the mood for a long movie like this where you have to pay attention. It was also one of those movies that makes me yell at the TV.
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