I haven’t read Dennis Lehane’s novel, on which it was based, but I’ve just watched Clint Eastwood’s movie, Mystic River. The film garnered several Academy Award nominations, and two Oscars, and I’m not surprised. It is very involving.
Three small boys are playing in a Boston street, years ago, when a pair of paedophiles abduct one of them. The lad escapes, eventually, but is permanently affected. The rest of the story is set in the present day, when the three boys have grown up. But that past event continues to haunt them.
One of the boys (Sean Penn) is an apparently reformed villain, whose beloved daughter goes missing. When she is found murdered, the case is investigated by the father’s childhood chum (Kevin Bacon) while sympathy is offered by the man who was abducted in his youth (Tim Robbins.) A series of misunderstandings, rooted in that abduction, lead to terrible consequences.
The performances of Penn, Robbins and Bacon are uniformly excellent. I did not know that there really is a Mystic River – it turns out to be the backdrop for a grim execution. This is a restrained piece of film-making, but all the more powerful for that. I was impressed.