Mystic River


Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Screenplay by: Brian Helgeland


Tagline: “ We bury our sins, we wash them clean.”

Rated: R

Warning: Spoilers

Mystic River is a 2003 mystery crime drama directed (and scored) by Clint Eastwood. It stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden and Laura Linney. The screenplay, by Brian Helgeland, was based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane.

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Three boys — Jimmy Markum, Sean Devine, and Dave Boyle — play hockey in a Boston street in 1975. Spotting wet concrete, they start writing their names into it when a car pulls up with two men, pretending to be police officers. One of them gets out and berates the boys for writing in the concrete, and tells Dave to get into the car. The men hold Dave captive and sexually abuse him for four days, until he escapes.

Twenty-five years later the boys are grown, and while they still live in Boston, they've drifted apart from each other. Jimmy is an ex-con running a neighborhood store, while Dave is a blue-collar worker, still haunted by his abduction. The two are still neighbors and related by marriage. Jimmy's 19-year-old daughter Katie is secretly dating Brendan Harris, a boy Jimmy despises. She and Brendan are planning to run away together to Las Vegas.

Katie goes out for the night with her girlfriends and Dave sees her at a local bar. That night, Katie is murdered, and Dave comes home with an injured hand and blood on his clothes, which his wife Celeste helps clean up. Dave claims he fought off a mugger, "bashed his head into the concrete", and possibly killed him. Sean, now a detective with the Massachusetts State Police, investigates Katie's murder. His pregnant wife has recently left him.

Over the course of the film, Sean and his partner, Sergeant Whitey Powers, track down leads while Jimmy investigates on his own using his neighborhood connections. Sean discovers that the gun used to kill Katie was also used in a liquor store robbery during the 1980s by "Just Ray" Harris, the father of Katie's boyfriend. Harris has been missing since 1989, but Brendan claims he still sends his family $500 every month. Brendan also feigns ignorance about Ray's gun but Sean believes it was still in the house. Sergeant Powers suspects Dave as the perp because he was one of the last people to see Katie alive. He also has a wounded hand and, although he continues to tell his wife he got it while being mugged, he tells the police a different story — soon Jimmy becomes suspicious of it. Dave continues to behave oddly, which upsets his wife to the point that she's afraid he'll hurt her. While Jimmy and his associates continue their investigation, Dave's wife finally tells Jimmy about Dave's behavior, the bloody clothing, and her suspicions.

Jimmy and his friends get Dave drunk at a local bar. When Dave leaves the bar, the men follow him out. Jimmy tells Dave that he shot "Just Ray" Harris at that same location for ratting him out and sending him to jail. Jimmy informs Dave that his wife thinks he murdered Katie and tells Dave he'll let him live if he just confesses. Dave repeatedly tells Jimmy that he did kill someone but it was not Katie: he beat a child molester to death after finding him having sex with a child prostitute in a car. Jimmy doesn't believe him and threatens him with a knife. When Dave finally admits to killing Katie — thinking he can escape with his life — Jimmy kills him and disposes of his body in nearby Mystic River.

While Dave is being killed, Brendan (having found out about his father's gun during questioning) confronts his younger brother Ray Jr. and his brother's friend John about Katie's murder. He beats the two boys and threatens to kill them if they don't admit their guilt, but when John takes the gun and is about to shoot him, Sean and Powers arrive in time to stop it.

The next morning, Sean tells Jimmy the police have Katie's murderers — who've confessed. She was killed by Brendan's brother, "Silent Ray" Harris, and his friend John O'Shea, in a violent prank gone horribly wrong: The kids got hold of Just Ray's gun and saw a car coming which happened to be Katie's. John aimed the gun just to scare her but the gun accidentally went off. The car veered onto the curb and Katie got out and ran into the park. Silent Ray and John pursue her so she can't tell anyone. Katie was beaten by Silent Ray, who had a hockey stick. John then shot her again, killing her. Sean asks Jimmy if he's seen Dave, because he's wanted for questioning in another case — the murder of a known child molester. A distraught Jimmy thanks Sean for finding his daughter's killers, but says, "if only you had been a little faster." Sean asks Jimmy if he's going to "send Celeste Boyle $500 a month too?"

Sean reunites with his wife and his daughter, after apologizing for "pushing her away". Jimmy goes to his wife, Annabeth, and confesses. She comforts him and tells him he is a king and kings always make the right decision. At a town parade, Sean sees Jimmy, and play acts shooting him, to let Jimmy know he's watching.

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