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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Powerful Performances (DVD)
by Diana Saenger

Although the big screen was the perfect venue for Mystic River, Clint Eastwood’s emotional drama loses none of its impact on the DVD release. Adapted from the novel by Dennis Lehane, powerful performances bring a gut-wrenching tale to life.

Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn) becomes alarmed when he discovers that his daughter Katie didn’t come home the night before and the police have blocked off a nearby street. When Markum screams in horror and asks if it’s his daughter’s body that lies in the bushes, I felt punched in my gut by  Penn’s amazing portrayal. Penn certainly deserved his Oscar for this bravura performance.

Detective Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon), in charge of the investigation, has the unfortunate task of telling his childhood friend Jimmy that his daughter is dead. Jimmy becomes enraged that a killer is not caught immediately, so he starts his own unofficial investigation.

Jimmy’s other childhood friend Dave, (Tim Robbins), who hung out with Jimmy and Sean, was one of the last people to see the girl. Jimmy’s cousin (Marcia Gay Harden) and Dave’s wife, feels bound to inform Jimmy that Dave seems inconsistent about how blood ended up on his hands the same night.

Through Eastwood’s masterful storytelling abilities, the film’s opening sequence reveals what happened to Jimmy, Dave and Sean as young boys, and why Dave is so different. A man posing as a cop threw Dave into his car, took him to a basement and abused him for days. The incident not only halted the boys’ friendship, it affected their entire lives -- and they each went their separate ways.

Kevin Bacon’s role seems far less emotional than Penn’s or Robbins’, but it’s his ease in playing the cop that allows the others to stand out. Likewise with Harden and Laura Linney, who plays Jimmy’s wife. Tim Robbins, proficiently bringing out the inconsistencies of his assigned character, won the supporting actor Oscar for his role as Dave, a mentally challenged man scarred for life. 

The 3-disc deluxe edition DVD features:

Disc One -- A highly interesting commentary from cast members Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon;

Disc Two Mystic River: Beneath the Surface – an exclusive-to-DVD documentary featuring Clint Eastwood’s elaboration on why he made the film, interviews with the cast, a journey back to the streets of Boston with Mystic River author Dennis Lehane where he reveals his inspirations for the book, and a deeper look at the adaptation of the novel into a motion picture (this is really awesome!);  Mystic River: From Page to Screen – the 2003 Bravo TV Special on Mystic River;  Selections from “The Charlie Rose Show” including segments with Clint Eastwood, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon; Theatrical trailer and teaser trailer.

Disc Three -- Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from Malpaso Records/Warner Bros. Records. This Mystic River soundtrack includes hauntingly beautiful music from composer Clint Eastwood, featuring the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

(Released by Warner Home Video and rated: “R” for language and violence.)

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