Mystic River movie review - Aussieboyreviews


The film’s plot is decent, but the performances are what make Mystic River a memorable drama. It’s not fully compelling, but is enough to enjoy.


After the death of his childhood friend’s daughter, a police officer investigates her mysterious murder which leads him to a crime that took place over twenty years ago.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney
Writer: Brian Helgeland
Release Date (Australia): 20 November 2003
Runtime: 138 minutes/2h 18m
Genre: Drama, Crime, Mystery
Country: USA
Language: English


Themes (MA15+)

The film contains thematic elements relating to murder, as well as disturbing scenes including sexual abuse and child prostitution.

Violence (MA15+)

The film includes bloody depictions of people being beaten and injury detail, in addition to violence in the form of shooting and stabbing.

Coarse Language (MA15+)

The film features frequent use of the word “f**k”.

Sex (G)

There are very mild visual sexual references in the film, including scenes depicting passionate kissing.

mpaa rating

R (for language and violence)

Aussie boy's thoughts

Sean Penn and Tim Robbins’ emotions and performances save what isn’t an entirely interesting crime-drama. Mystic River surely is a film that will appeal to most teens, especially due to the adult subject matter and highly-rated story. However, the unsatisfying ending just doesn’t make it a movie worth watching again.

Unfortunately, the line “Mystic River is quite a slow-paced drama” needs to be clearly stated or at least mentioned once by the critics. What engages you is the storyline, spectacular reviews and the stars, but you’ll realise by the end that it’s not what you’d thought it would be. There’s no doubt that this movie is an excellent murder-mystery, but it’s just not compelling or fascinating enough to class as a masterpiece. It’s quite a prolonged and strong movie, so don’t expect to enjoy it straight away.

Even though the story may get quite slow for some, the lead performances come and save the film. Sean Penn definitely displays very powerful and sometimes disturbing emotions. The acting of Tim Robbins is also very high-impact and will impress all of his fans, but Clint Eastwood’s directing is masterful as well. It leads to a film that isn’t overly compelling, but still manages to entertain mystery audiences. Don’t get overhyped about Mystic River, but expect the tragic and chilling ideas to hold your attention.

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