Mystic River

Year: 2003
Genre: Drama / Mystery / Crime
MPAA: Rated R for language and violence.
Runtime: 137 min
IMDB User Rating: 8.1/10 (9,093 votes); top 250: #149
Alt Text Rating: 7.1 / 10
I went in to Mystic River with very few expectations — to be quite honest I had the idea that it was set in the old west, apparently mixing it up with Cold Mountain. Without giving too much away I will say that I thought it was a well-acted movie with a great cast (Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden) but it certainly should not win best picture this year. It was a strong, if not a somewhat predictable, story line. And it was a tragedy befitting a Shakespearean play. I was ready to call it a very good movie until the end — or should I say past the end? Read the extended entry for why the end ruined an otherwise good movie. (contains spoilers)

Then we get to the ending or should I say endings. I could have done without so many loose ends being tied up at the end. Eastwood wanted to include as many of the stories as he could at the end and it wasn’t necessary. There are several places where the film could have come to a cleaner, more satisfying ending, including, after the friends are standing in the street gazing at the car drive away long ago, and the first part of the parade scene. They should have not drawn out the bed scene, the parade, and the Celeste wandering the streets ending. People get it, its a tragic ending.
Note that if you are very astute you know that this is nearly identical to what I posted about The Return of the King. Also note that now I am nearly certain that the Return of the King will win best picture honors. The muddling of the ending of Mystic River was much more of a depletion of the film than anything Peter Jackson can be faulted for in the making of his epic trilogy. And make no mistake — the best directing and best picture nods to Jackson and the Rings will be for the entire trilogy — unfair or otherwise.

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