MYSTIC RIVER is a masterpiece of a film directed by Clint Eastwood and it features an ensemble cast of talented actors led by Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, who both won the Best Actor Oscar and Best Supporting Oscar respectively. I absolutely LOVE this film and everything about it, the acting especially, the directing, the lighting effects (notice the great lighting in Dave's son's room when he's reading him a bed time story) the flow of the film, the story; EVERYTHING. Penn plays Jimmy Markum a tough, old school dude who's had a rough past life but now has a wife (Laura Linney) and three daughters, the oldest one being Katie (Emmy Rossum) Jimmy has two childhood friends: Sean who now is a cop (played by Kevin Bacon who never ceases to impress me with his acting) and the disturbed and troubled Dave (Tim Robbins) who now only just say 'hello' every time they see each other. They end up being drawn back to each other after Jimmy's oldest daughter, Katie, is killed and then that's when the story really begins to unravel as to who killed Katie.
Everything that unfolds towards the discovery of Katie's killer from getting clues, interviewing suspects and witnesses alike, and putting everything together is masterfully directed by Eastwood and expertly written by Brian Helgeland. These clues and interviews are being conducted by Sean and Whitey (Laurence Fishburne in a very interesting role) you would think that the film drags while the plot unravels but not at all, it keeps you sucked in all the way to the surprising ending.
But the thing that keeps me coming to the film is not only the plot and directing, but the acting. Laura Linney plays Annabeth, Jimmy's wife, she brings calm to Jimmy's life and Marcia Gay Harden plays Celeste, Dave's wife who at times is confused about her husband's demeanor. Both Penn and Robbins deserved their Oscars that year because that scene where Penn runs towards the crime scene to see if its his daughter is powerful "Is that my daughter in there?" And the scene where Jimmy admits to Dave that its pissing him off because he can't cry for his daughter AND THEN finally does cry is emotional; its acting at its finest. The film is set in Boston and it seems like filmmakers like filming there because we're seeing more and more films set there like GONE BABY GONE and THE TOWN most notably, its a great setting for a film. Overall if you want to see a powerfully acted, masterfully directed and well written film (which there are a few nowadays) you can't go wrong with this one.