Mystic River

Critics 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.



Total Count: 204


Audience Score

User Ratings: 203,308
User image

Mystic River Videos

Watch it now

Mystic River Photos

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, Rovi


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
Cayden Boyd
as Michael
Jenny O'Hara
as Esther Harris
Charley Broderick
as Medical Examinder
Ken Cheeseman
as Dave's Friend
John Doman
as Driver
Brad R. Douglas
as Boston Police Officer
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
Ed O'Keefe
as Priest
Will Lyman
as FBI Agent Birden
Celine Du Tertre
as Nadine Markum
Zabeth Russell
as Diane Cestra
Joe Stapleton
as Drew Pigeon
Anthony Taurasi
as Boston Police Officer
Brian Van Kay
as Police Detective
Jose Ramon Rosario
as Lieutenant Friel
Tom Kemp
as CSS Tech
Robert Wahlberg
as Kevin Savage
Jillian Wheeler
as Sara Marcum
Kris Swanberg
as Spectator
Lonnie Farmer
as Lab Technician
Susan Willis
as Mrs. Prior
Celeste Oliva
as Trooper Jenny Coughlin
Scott Winters
as Detective
Bates Wilder
as Loudmouth Cop
Douglas Bowen Flynn
as Cop at Barricade
Connor Paolo
as Young Sean Devine
Bill Thorpe
as Neighbor at Barricade
Jason Kelly
as Young Jimmy Markum
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
Michael Peavey
as Helicopter Pilot
Eli Wallach
as Liquor Store Owner [uncredited]
View All

News & Interviews for Mystic River

Critic Reviews for Mystic River

All Critics (204) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (179) | Rotten (25)

  • Eastwood and his actors create a brooding drama whose events and interrelationships seem surreally improbable yet painfully authentic.

    Nov 12, 2018 | Full Review…
  • It is a film of magisterial, slow-burning power, one of the finest examples of recent American cinematic storytelling and certainly Eastwood's most mature film.

    Jan 10, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Violence and revenge have been a staple of Eastwood's work from the beginning, but here he explores his subject from a new, more ambiguous angle, with no regard for macho titillation.

    Jul 7, 2010 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

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

    Aug 7, 2004
  • The unfashionably slow editing style and the concentration on close-ups and two-shots allow Eastwood to scrutinise his characters as they are forced to dig into themselves.

    Jan 15, 2004 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Mystic River

  • Apr 30, 2018
    1/05/2018 - An amazing crime drama.
    Peter B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 03, 2015
    Clint Eastwood gave us yet another haunting drama about trust and friendship between 3 men in a small Irish town. A lovely yet tragic drama that leaves you thinking. All three veteran actors delivered masterful acting, the serene setting and the close up shots really makes the film all the more beautiful. While it is good, I thought it may have been a bit overrated, the story itself isn't that inventive. But nonetheless, the performance deserved recognition.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Mar 11, 2014
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 06, 2012
    Wasn't really interested in this one at first...I honestly just watched it because I was bored. However, I was pleasantly surprised with this film. It has a good storyline, an excellent and unusual setup (the kidnapping), a really cool jarring plot twist in the middle, and an interesting ending that sets up a potential sequel (they never made a film sequel, but perhaps there's a book sequel, I don't know). The cast of this film is excellent, especially Penn and Bacon. Robbins is good too, as a deeply confused man with a tragic childhood past; Fishburne is also good, as ever. Dramas aren't really my forte', but I definitely found this film entertaining, even though I'm not a fan of the genre.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer

Mystic River Quotes

News & Features