Friday, January 07, 2005

Mystic River

I watched Mystic River yesterday. I feel like it was a classic example of a movie that's made really well, with a strong plot, solid acting, but just doesn't feel like it's that important to the people making it. Most great movies have a story where it feels like the person had to tell it, a story that is very close to them personally. Tarantino's films are a great example of this, he's clearly in love with what he's doing.

Mystic River is well made, but it doesn't feel inspired. I can forgive a lot of flaws in a movie if you can feel an excitement that went into making it. Mystic River feels almost effortless, which also means it doesn't feel too personal. There always seems to be a distance between the filmmaker and his characters. I'm not saying that every film has to be ripped out of the director's soul, but the best ones usually are ripped from at least the mind of the director. This didn't feel that way.

One thing I did find really interesting was the moral stance of the film's ending. Jimmy has just killed one of his best friends, and his wife tells him to forget about it for the good of their family. I find this repulsive, and it's tough to tell where the film stands on the issue. It's sort of a Rorshach at the end of Watchmen dilemma and that was really interesting. I would have liked to have seen that explored a bit more, but by that point it felt like the film was over, so it would have been tough to keep going on.

Maybe I'm being a bit tough on the film. It was a solid two hours of well made entertainment, certainly not a bad film to watch, but I've been on such an auteur kick lately, it's tough to watch a film that doesn't seem so personal for the director.

Related Posts
Filming Original Works (11/7/2005)
Great Films (12/19/2005)


Keith G said...

I don't have a problem with a film like this that is "well made" in the classic sense. Much better than watching a film that is made merely for money. The acting is so great in this film that it's worth watching just for that.

The ending seems a little heavy handed with Penn's wife's Lady Macbeth act coming out of left field. It could have been an interesting angle, but it wasn't set up well enough.

Patrick said...

Yeah, that felt tacked on, and seemed to start a whole new plot thread right when the film was finishing.

And I agree about the acting, Kevin Bacon especially surprised me with how good he was. Considering the Oscars, I expected it from the others, but Bacon did a lot with a role that was mostly exposition.

Nicole said...

After watching the ending of the movie with Penn's wife stating what she did at the end it sorta gave me the feeling that she perhaps had something to do with Katie being killed. Like that she was the one who enlightened that young boy who killed Katie about her husband being the one who was sending the money. Reason being, she got so torn up when Penn rushed out of the church and stated "You know you have two other daughters". It just seemed to me that she was a bit jealous of Penn and his daughter's relationship. And as for poor Dave, he just took the spotlight off of her (if in fact this was the case). Just a weird thought but I really was thinking it almost the whole time I watched the movie and with the dialog in her last scene it really made more sense to me that she was actually the one who indirectly got things going in Katie's murder.

Anonymous said...

I watched Mystic River for the first time last night and thought, the last 10 minutes made the film. This morning I found a review elsewhere that said the ending ruined it. The camera moves slowly from one couple to the next--I saw a least damaged winner, a damaged survivor held up by a strong wife, and a damaged widow of a wrongly executed husband--three losers who were always going to be losers, by virtue of their own personalities--processes moving down through the generations. Dave's son, next in line. said...

Very helpful info, much thanks for your post.