Watered down.

There's enough other reviews discussing the plot and set up of Mystic River. If you haven't seen the movie, Andrew B. provides a fine synopsis right here on

There's enough buzz about this movie that my expectations were notedly higher than they should have been. This is a typical Eastwood movie. There are some elements that are so distinct that you know they are part of the story line. A mute but not deaf child is pretty rare and his existence in the movie should tip you off that he may play an important role.

I was not greatly moved by Sean Penn's performance. His grief is certainly believable, but as he slips back into small time mafia boss, the tough guy persona is not effective.

I was however greatly impressed with the character of Dave. This boy-man is truly isolated and it's this character's isolation from his religion, his authority, his friends, and his family that make this story a modern day tragedy. Tim Robbins does a very good job of bringing this conflicted character to the screen.

Kevin Bacon is the straght guy in the film and as such, his character nor the performance requires much depth.

Once again, Eastwood has created a film mostly about men. This isn't awful, he knows his craft.

The movie concocts a typically Eastwood web of connections between the characters. There is a certain sense of uncontrolled action when watching this movie unfold. When the final scenes are being viewed there is a flash of white on the screen. I think the movie should have ended there. Instead we tack on 6-10 minutes of epilogue and wrap up that I felt really diluted the momentum built up by the plot. In the epilogue, all the remaining mystery of the story is answered in a single dimension that removes any insight a viewer may have had in a different direction.

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