Monday, November 24, 2003

we bury our sins, we wash them clean ... in the mystic

I am pleased to announce mystic river as another Eastwood success. Admittedly, I am a fan of the man, so I went in with a certain level of comfort expecting the patient undulating tone of the film. In fact, I'd contend that this pace adds an extra level of uneasiness to the pivotal pre-climactic scene. Based on Dennis Lehane's bestseller (which has already moved onto my long to-read list), and embellished by a score by the director himself, this is a fine ensemble. All is forgiven for Sean Penn's "Oscar-pitched" Sam Dawson, as he adds every bit of menace, pain and Catholic guilt and retribution to the character of Jimmy Markum. Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laura Linney, Marcia Gay Harden, and Laurence Fishburne provide other stellar examples in fine acting. This film is a clear runner for the Oscars, which makes me glad (for Eastwood) and sad (because of what I really think the naked man with the sword is really worth!). About the only time Eastwood and editor Cox seem to slip (and perhaps a little too badly) is the add-on scenes after what might have been a good time to end the film and before the end credits roll. But that's a minor grouse. Boston never looked so beautiful, or darkly sinister. And there's great production design from the dependable Henry Bumstead. Eastwood fans will also smile at Eli Walach's cameo as the liquor store owner.

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