Mystic River (2003)

R | 137 mins | Drama | 15 October 2003

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Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writer:

Brian Helgeland

Cinematographer:

Tom Stern

Editor:

Joel Cox

Production Designer:

Henry Bumstead
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HISTORY

Actor Eli Wallach’s name does not appear in the film’s onscreen credits. A written list of institutions and city and state organizations that the producers wished to thank appears at the end of the film. Among those are the Massachusetts Port Authority, the City of Canton and the City of Chelsea. At the end of the scene in which Jimmy shoots Dave, the screen fades to white. Following the film’s final sequence, the Columbus Day Parade, the camera pans to the boys' names on the sidewalk, then to the Mystic Bridge and the Mystic River. The bridge, which spans the Mystic River between Charlestown and Chelsea, provides the principal highway link between Chelsea, a largely industrial city, and Boston, which lies two miles to the south of Chelsea. The bridge was renamed the Maurice J. Tobin Mystic River Bridge in 1967 in honor of Maurice J. Tobin, a former Boston mayor and Massachusetts governor who created the Massachusetts Port Authority, and also ordered the construction of the bridge.
       There are several differences between Dennis Lehane’s novel and the film Mystic River . In the novel, the character of “Sean Devine” is more fleshed out. Lehane writes that Sean’s wife “Lauren” was having an affair with another man, and when she left him, Sean did not know if the baby she was carrying was his or not. Their marriage had broken down because he was overly preoccupied with his job. In Lehane's novel, Sean's partner, "Whitey Powers," is a middle-aged Irish American. In the book, “Dave Boyle” has been experiencing sexual feelings toward young boys, and part ... More Less

Actor Eli Wallach’s name does not appear in the film’s onscreen credits. A written list of institutions and city and state organizations that the producers wished to thank appears at the end of the film. Among those are the Massachusetts Port Authority, the City of Canton and the City of Chelsea. At the end of the scene in which Jimmy shoots Dave, the screen fades to white. Following the film’s final sequence, the Columbus Day Parade, the camera pans to the boys' names on the sidewalk, then to the Mystic Bridge and the Mystic River. The bridge, which spans the Mystic River between Charlestown and Chelsea, provides the principal highway link between Chelsea, a largely industrial city, and Boston, which lies two miles to the south of Chelsea. The bridge was renamed the Maurice J. Tobin Mystic River Bridge in 1967 in honor of Maurice J. Tobin, a former Boston mayor and Massachusetts governor who created the Massachusetts Port Authority, and also ordered the construction of the bridge.
       There are several differences between Dennis Lehane’s novel and the film Mystic River . In the novel, the character of “Sean Devine” is more fleshed out. Lehane writes that Sean’s wife “Lauren” was having an affair with another man, and when she left him, Sean did not know if the baby she was carrying was his or not. Their marriage had broken down because he was overly preoccupied with his job. In Lehane's novel, Sean's partner, "Whitey Powers," is a middle-aged Irish American. In the book, “Dave Boyle” has been experiencing sexual feelings toward young boys, and part of the reason he kills the pedophile is to destroy those feelings in himself. Dave is afraid to tell anyone about his crime because he would then have to admit that he was attracted to young boys. At the end of the novel, “Jimmy," who is named “Jimmy Marcus” in the book, decides that he can take better care of the neighborhood if he reverts back to his life of crime.
       In a May 2003 interview with The Times (London) , director Clint Eastwood said that he immediately optioned the book after reading it. In a May 2003 LAT interview, Eastwood stated he had difficulty getting funding to make the film because many of the studios were reluctant to address the topic of child molestation. According to Eastwood, Warner Bros., with whom he had a long-standing relationship, agreed to provide financial backing as “almost a favor” [to Eastwood]. The studio insisted on a $25,000,000 budget for the project, a relatively low amount, and as a result, Eastwood took no salary, receiving only a DGA minimum stipend. In a May 2003 HR news item and an Oct 2003 Long Beach Press Telegram article, Tim Robbins, who played the part of Dave, stated that Eastwood would shoot a scene in just two or three takes. In a televised interview, Eastwood explained that he relied on fewer takes to make the scenes feel "fresher." The film’s pressbook notes that Eastwood was adamant that the film be shot in Boston. According to the pressbook, the scene in which Sean and Whitey respond to an automobile accident was shot on the Maurice J. Tobin Mystic River Bridge. The pressbook also notes that author Lehane appeared as a politician in the Columbus Day parade sequence. The film's interiors were shot in Canton, MS, a suburb just south of Boston, and the score was recorded in Boston by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The vampire movie that Dave is watching on television is the 1998 film John Carpenter’s Vampires .
       Eastwood and screenwriter Brian Helgeland had previously worked together on the 2002 Malpaso Company film Blood Work , for which Helgeland wrote the screenplay and Eastwood directed and starred. Eastwood and Marcia Gay Harden, who played “Celeste Boyle” in Mystic River , worked together in the 2000 Malpaso production Space Cowboys in which Eastwood directed and starred and Harden played a featured role. Robbins and Sean Penn worked together in the 1995 film Dead Man Walking , which was written and directed by Robbins and starred Penn.
       Mystic River received the National Board of Review award for Best Film of the Year and was selected as one of AFI’s top ten films of the year. The National Society of Film Critics named Eastwood Best Director of 2003, and he was nominated by the Directors Guild for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2003. Eastwood and his fellow Mystic River producers Robert Lorenz and Judie G. Hoyt were nominated by the Producers Guild for the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures. Robbins won the Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor and Penn was awarded the Best Actor Critics' Choice Award by the BFCA. The Screen Actors Guild nominated Penn for Best Actor in a Film, while the picture received a SAG nomination for Best Acting by an Ensemble. The Art Directors Guild nominated the film for Best Production Design in a Contemporary Film.
       Penn received an Academy Award for Best Actor, and Robbins received the award for Best Supporting Actor. The picture also received Academy Award nominations in the following categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Harden). Mystic River also received the following Golden Globe nominations: Best Motion Picture--Drama, Best Director--Motion Picture, Best Screenplay--Motion Picture, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture--Drama (Penn) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Robbins). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 2002.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7--13 Jan 2003
p. 38.
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 2003.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 2003.
---
Los Angeles Times
24 May 2003.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Oct 2003
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
12 Oct 2003
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
8 Oct 2003.
---
Press Telegram
5 Oct 2003.
---
The Times (London)
24 May 2003.
---
Variety
26 May--1 Jun 2003
p. 25, 31.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam/Steadicam op
Cam op/Wescam
Cam 1st asst
Cam 2d asst
Cam loader
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Rigging grip
Rigging gaffer
Lighting equipment provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative cutting by
Ed on the
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Set des
On set dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const gen foreman
Boston const foreman
Const labor foreman
Paint foreman
Standby painter
Leadperson
Swing gang
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Set cost
Set cost
MUSIC
The Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood F
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Score rec and mixed by
Mus consultant
Score rec at
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Co-supv sd ed
Supv dial ed
Dial ed
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd utility
ADR supv
ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR asst ed
ADR mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd des ed
Supv Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
1st asst sd ed
2d asst sd ed
2d asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Video & graphics supv
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Makeup artist
Key hair stylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting assoc
Loc/extras casting
Unit prod mgr
Asst to Mr. Eastwood
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Project coord
Prod secy
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Unit pub
Supv loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Massachusetts State Police tech adv
Massachusetts State Police liaison
Boston Police Dept liaison
Sign language tech adv
Set prod aide
Set prod aide
Set prod aide
Set prod aide
Set prod aide
Set prod aide
Set prod aide
Set prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Studio teacher
Studio teacher
Craft service
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Mystic River by Dennis Lehane (New York, 2001).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Mystic River," composed by Clint Eastwood
"Cosmo" and "Black Emerald Blues," written by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens.
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 October 2003
Premiere Information:
World premiere at the Cannes Film Festival: 23 May 2003
New York Film Festival premiere: 3 October 2003
Los Angeles opening: 8 October 2003
Production Date:
26 September 2002--early January 2003
Copyright Claimant:
WV Films III, LLC
Copyright Date:
12 December 2003
Copyright Number:
PA0001199167
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Digital; dts Digital Sound; SDDS Sony Dynamic Digital Sound in selected theatres
Color
Technicolor
Lenses/Prints
filmed with Panavision cameras and lenses; Kodak Motion Picture Products; prints by Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
137
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
39873
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1975, in East Buckingham, a working-class Boston neighborhood beside the Mystic River Bridge, Jimmy Markum, Sean Devine and Dave Boyle play street hockey until their ball rolls down a sewer opening. Jimmy, the more forceful of the boys, then inscribes his name in a square of wet cement in the sidewalk and goads the others to follow suit. The malleable Sean writes his name next, but just as Dave scratches in the first two letters of his name, a black car pulls up carrying two men they assume are policemen. Accusing them of destroying municipal property, one of the men asks where they live. Dave answers that he lives on another street, so the man insists on taking him home, pushes him into the car and slams the door. As the car drives off, the man’s partner eyes Dave, who stares forlornly out the rear window, looking at his friends. Locked in a basement, Dave is sexually abused by the men until he finally escapes four days later, now “damaged goods” as one of the neighborhood men describes him. Twenty-five years later, Dave walks the neighborhood streets with his son Mikey, pointing out the sewer opening that swallowed up hockey balls in his childhood. When Dave glances at the square of sidewalk inscribed with the boys’s names, he remembers his kidnapping and hunches over, crippled by the memory. Jimmy now owns a neighborhood market where he works with his nineteen-year-old daughter Katie, the apple of his eye. The protective Jimmy has forbidden Katie to see Brendan Harris, a neighborhood boy who has been hanging around the ... +


In 1975, in East Buckingham, a working-class Boston neighborhood beside the Mystic River Bridge, Jimmy Markum, Sean Devine and Dave Boyle play street hockey until their ball rolls down a sewer opening. Jimmy, the more forceful of the boys, then inscribes his name in a square of wet cement in the sidewalk and goads the others to follow suit. The malleable Sean writes his name next, but just as Dave scratches in the first two letters of his name, a black car pulls up carrying two men they assume are policemen. Accusing them of destroying municipal property, one of the men asks where they live. Dave answers that he lives on another street, so the man insists on taking him home, pushes him into the car and slams the door. As the car drives off, the man’s partner eyes Dave, who stares forlornly out the rear window, looking at his friends. Locked in a basement, Dave is sexually abused by the men until he finally escapes four days later, now “damaged goods” as one of the neighborhood men describes him. Twenty-five years later, Dave walks the neighborhood streets with his son Mikey, pointing out the sewer opening that swallowed up hockey balls in his childhood. When Dave glances at the square of sidewalk inscribed with the boys’s names, he remembers his kidnapping and hunches over, crippled by the memory. Jimmy now owns a neighborhood market where he works with his nineteen-year-old daughter Katie, the apple of his eye. The protective Jimmy has forbidden Katie to see Brendan Harris, a neighborhood boy who has been hanging around the store. Sean, now a Massachusetts homicide detective, has left the neighborhood, and one day, while making an arrest with his partner, Whitey Powers, on the Mystic River Bridge, gazes ruefully back at his boyhood home. That night, at McGill’s Tavern, Dave is drinking a beer and watching sports on television when Katie and her friends, Diane Cestra and Eve Pigeon, come in and drunkenly dance on the bar. Dave returns home to his wife Celeste at 3 a.m., shaken and covered in blood, explaining that he bashed a mugger’s head in after the man stabbed him. The following day, an anonymous caller makes a 911 call to police headquarters and states that he found a car spattered with blood in Pen Park in the Buckingham neighborhood. Because Pen Park is under state jurisdiction, Sean and Whitey are called in to investigate. Upon learning that the car was registered to a Katherine Markum, Sean realizes that the victim must be Jimmy’s daughter. Jimmy and his second wife, Annabeth, meanwhile, are in church watching one of their two younger daughters receive her First Communion. After the service, as Jimmy, who is concerned that Katie is not there, is congratulated by friends, a series of police cars race down the street. The sirens are also heard by Celeste, as she scours the newspapers for mention of Dave’s mugger. While walking back to his house, Jimmy passes Pen Park and finds the street cordoned off as a crime scene, then sees Katie’s car. Jimmy, who is accompanied by his thuggish friends, Nick and Val Savage, demands to know what’s going on. Notified of Jimmy’s threatening behavior, Sean leaves the search to try to calm the now smoldering Jimmy. While watching television, Celeste hears the story about the blood soaked car and glances suspiciously out the window at Dave. When Katie’s body is found in the park, Whitey wonders what Sean will say to his friend and Sean proposes “God said you owed him a marker and he came to collect.” After taking Jimmy to the morgue to identify Katie’s body, Sean sits with Whitey, Jimmy and Annabeth in the cafeteria, and Jimmy wonders how their lives would have been different if he or Sean had gotten into the car instead of Dave. Jimmy then recalls that as his beautiful first wife Maria was dying of cancer, he was serving a two-year stint in prison for robbery. When Jimmy mentions that Brendan and his mute brother Silent Ray came looking for Katie the morning of her disappearance, Whitey remembers finding travel brochures for Las Vegas in the back of Katie’s car and wonders if there might be a connection. Later, Sean’s estranged wife Lauren, who left him when she was pregnant, calls Sean from a payphone but won’t speak. As mourners gather at the Markum house, Dave sits zombie-like while Celeste, who is Annabeth’s cousin, watches and wonders if he might be involved in Katie’s death. Meanwhile, Sean and Whitey question an old woman who lives across from Pen Park. When the woman states that after Katie’s car squealed to a stop, she heard Katie say hello to someone, the detectives realize that Katie knew her killer. Sean and Whitey then go to question Eve and Diane, who admit that Katie and Brendan planned to elope to Las Vegas. When the detectives go to the Harris house to tell Brendan about Katie’s murder, Brendan’s shrewish mother Esther expresses pleasure, exclaiming that Katie was “no good.” Esther then undermines Brendan’s alibi that he was at home at the time of the murder. At the Markum house, a troubled Dave walks out onto the porch and finds the brooding Jimmy. When Jimmy asks about Dave’s injured hand, Dave says that he slammed it in a door. Suddenly breaking down, Jimmy sobs that when he returned from prison, he felt like Katie and he were the only two people on earth. Later that night, Sean is at home thumbing through some old photos of Dave, Jimmy and himself when Lauren calls. He begins to talk about work, but when she does not speak hangs up, saying he "can't take it tonight." Meanwhile, Dave tells Mikey a bedtime story of a boy living in a world that others never saw, as he thinks of his kidnapping. Celeste interrupts by calling Dave to the stairway, and when she wonders aloud why the newspapers still have not printed a story about the mugger, Dave menacingly advances toward her. Later, as Jimmy gazes out his bedroom window, he muses that he is in some way responsible for Katie's death. After Brendan passes a polygraph test, Sean and Whitey decide to question Dave. Under Whitey’s interrogation, Dave admits to what Sean and Whitey already knew, that he saw Katie at McGill’s on the night of the murder. Afterward, Whitey, who has noticed Dave’s injured hand, tells Sean that he thinks Dave is the murderer. At the funeral home, Jimmy stands over his daughter’s body and vows to avenge her killing. Later, when Sean tells Jimmy that Katie was planning to elope with Brendan, Jimmy voices his contempt for Brendan’s father Ray because he ran off and left his family. Impatient with the slow pace of the investigation, Jimmy then gives Sean a deadline, after which he says, he and his pals the Savage brothers will conduct their own inquisition. When ballistics determine that the gun that shot Katie was also used in a liquor store holdup eighteen years earlier, Sean and Whitey go to question the liquor store owner, who suspects Ray Harris of the robbery because Ray had once worked at the store and therefore had a key to gain entry. Meanwhile, after sitting alone in her car in the pouring rain, Celeste returns home and finds Dave transfixed in front of the television watching a vampire film. After explaining that he is fascinated by vampires because “if you are undead, it’s okay to forget to be human,” Dave asks Celeste if she thinks he killed Katie. When Celeste hesitates, Dave breaks down and, referring to the past, states that to survive, he had to pretend to be someone else and that Dave died in the basement. Unstrung, Dave goes out for a walk, and when he passes Jimmy on the street, admits that he saw Katie on the night of the murder. Later, as Jimmy is picking out a gravestone, the Savage brothers drive up and inform him that the police have brought Dave in for questioning. After releasing Dave, Sean and Whitey look into the robbery. They discover that, although Jimmy and Ray were both arrested for the liquor store robbery, only Jimmy served time, and realize that Ray must have made a deal to turn in Jimmy. Because Ray disappeared shortly after Jimmy left prison, the detectives ask Brendan about his father’s gun. Although Brendan reveals that his father sends the family $500 monthly, he becomes defiant when told that Ray’s gun killed Katie and denies that his father owned a gun. At the same time, a shaken Celeste confides to Jimmy that Dave returned home on the night of the murder covered with blood. When Jimmy asks Celeste if she thinks Dave killed Katie, she nods her head yes. Soon after, Dave is walking down the street when the Savage brothers, who are also Celeste’s cousins, drive by and invite him to go drinking. Dave climbs into the car’s backseat and looks forlornly out the rear window as they drive to the Black Emerald Bar at the edge of the Mystic River. At police headquarters, Sean and Whitey realize that they have not listened to the 911 tape, and upon playing it, are astounded when a boy’s voice, claiming that he did not see the murder, nonetheless identifies the victim as a woman. As the Savage brothers ply Dave with drinks at the bar, Jimmy, mad with grief and rage, joins them. Sickened by the alcohol, Dave runs out the back stairs to vomit, and while standing over him, Jimmy reveals that he killed Ray not for turning him in, but because going to prison meant that he could not take care of Maria when she was dying. Aware that Jimmy now thinks he killed Katie, Dave swears that he killed a child molester that night, not Katie. Exploding in a rage, Jimmy demands that Dave confess to Katie’s murder and offers to release him if he does. Meanwhile, at the Harris apartment, Brendan has discovered that his father’s gun has been removed from its hiding place and waits for Silent Ray to return. When Ray and his friend, John O’Shea arrive, Brendan shows his brother the empty holster and orders him to speak. After John tries to defend his friend, Brendan kicks him in the face, then lunges for his brother’s throat. Just as John aims the gun at Brendan, Whitey and Sean burst in and grab the gun. At the Black Emerald, Dave, certain that Jimmy will kill him unless he confesses, admits to killing Katie, then remarks that she reminded him of the youth he never had. Dave tells Jimmy “you’d know what it meant if you got in the car instead of me.” Jimmy then plunges a knife into Dave’s stomach, then shoots him. Soon after, Jimmy is sitting hunched over on a neighborhood curb when Sean pulls up and informs him that they caught the killers, Silent Ray and John. Stunned, Jimmy asks if they are certain, after which Sean explains that the boys were playing in the street when the gun went off by mistake, hitting Katie’s car. Afraid that Katie might tell someone, the boys chased her down, shot and beat her. Sean then asks if Jimmy has heard from Dave, explaining that he needs to talk to him about a body of a pedophile that has been found. Sensing that Jimmy might have killed Dave, Sean asks when he saw Dave last, to which Jimmy replies “twenty-five years ago.” Sean then inquires if Jimmy is going to send monthly checks to Celeste as he has done for the Harris family, and says that he wishes that they were still eleven-year-old boys and that it all was just a dream. Soon after, Sean’s phone rings, and intuiting that it is Lauren, he says that he is sorry he pushed her away. Emboldened, Lauren speaks, admitting that she is sorry, too, and agrees to come home with their baby. Some time later, as the neighborhood celebrates Columbus Day with a parade, Jimmy watches from his window and confesses to the steely Annabeth that he killed Dave and threw his body into the Mystic River. Annabeth consoles her husband by saying that he is a king and everyone is weak but him, then makes love to him. On the street, Celeste threads her way through the crowd, but upon spotting Sean and his family, turns away. As the float on which Mikey is riding passes by, Mikey morosely stares off into space. Jimmy then comes out onto the street and smiles at Sean, who forms his fingers into the shape of a gun and fires at him. +

Legend
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Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.