I went to see Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort, Mystic River at the Director’s Guild with John. The film takes place in a lower-class Boston suburb on the North Shore, and explores the relationships between three former friends when one of their kids is murdered. Sean Penn is the ex-con whose daughter is found shot and beaten to death. Kevin Bacon is the cop investigating the crime. Tim Robbins is the neighbor who everyone suspects of doing it. The three were friends back when Robbins was abducted as a kid – and he’s never been the same since.
Like many of Eastwood’s films, the film takes its time to get where it’s going. It never feels rushed, or hurried. The languid pacing is rather reminiscent of many films made in the 1970s – so theres a certain quality and texture to the cloudy gray drama that unfolds on screen. Musically, this film is a mess. Eastwood wrote the score (at least the main themes), and longtime collaborator Lennie Neihaus only seems to have conducted the music. It’s all over the place, and doesn’t really work too well.
The film could also have benefited from some trimming. Shots lingered on faces for reactions that eventually came. I’d say this 2:17 movie is about 30 minutes too long. If you’re looking for a solid drama with quality actors, this film certainly delivers. It even has one of the best smash cuts I’ve seen in years.