Josh Kleinbaum is the city hall reporter for the News-Press, the
Leader’s sister publication.
Put together a terrific ensemble cast, a great story line and an
actor-turned- director determined to make his directorial opus, and
there’s a good chance you’ll get a great movie. Just don’t read the
“Mystic River,” Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s
book, tells the story of three lives that diverged with one gruesome
crime during childhood and come back together again with another
crime 25 years later.
The story intertwines the past and the present, showing how our
childhood can haunt us years later. As Jimmy Markum, Sean Penn
delivers a stirring performance -- which is no surprise -- and Tim
Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne and Laura Linney provide
But the story often seems shallow. Eastwood tries to show the
powerful emotions the two events can cause in a person, a family and
a community, but the emotional wrenching often turns into little more
than a murder mystery.
For a 2 1/2 hour movie, it lacks the emotional depth that Lehane
gave the book, which takes a close look at class struggles and
emotional demons in all three of the main characters. The movie does
not even discuss the class issues, and the emotional struggles seem
trivialized and forced.
On its own, “Mystic River” may be a good movie. But if you want to
get the most out of a terrific story, pick up Lehane’s novel.
“Mystic River” is rated R for language and violence.