A/V Room









Mystic River - US reaction

Compiled by: Jack Foley

CLINT Eastwood’s latest directorial outing may have been going up against the likes of Kill Bill: Volume One and the Coens’ Intolerable Cruelty when it opened in America on the weekend commencing October 10, 2003, but the reviews let cinema-goers positively spoilt for choice.

Mystic River, for instance, is being hailed as Eastwood’s finest work since Unforgiven, while Kill Bill, of course, marks the return of Quentin Tarantino, and Intolerable Cruelty marks the latest outing for everyone’s favourites, the Coen Brothers.

As for Mystic River, Eastwood’s tale of three childhood friends whose traumatic past comes back to haunt them in later life, following the murder of one of their daughters, the notices have been glowing, prompting early talk of a possible Oscar nod.

Box Office Magazine sums it up well, when it states that the film is ‘a whodunit with a deeply emotional core, thanks to LA Confidential scripter, Brian Helgeland's richly crafted, textured screenplay and the superb ensemble cast's outstanding individual performances and collective chemistry’.

Entertainment Weekly referred to it, simply, as ‘a classic whodunit’, while the New York Times declared, joyfully, that ‘Mystic River is the rare American movie that aspires to - and achieves - the full weight and darkness of tragedy’.

Rolling Stone stated that it is ‘a movie of startling power and intimacy’, while the Los Angeles Times felt that it is ‘Eastwood's best direction since Unforgiven and arguably the best, most mature work of his career’.

The San Francisco Examiner, meanwhile, stated that ‘it would be wrong to single out any one of these performances. Eastwood has assembled a bonanza cast here and each comes out shining’.

Even the negatives weren’t too negative, with the New York Post stating that it is ‘a haunting, ambitious but ultimately flawed film, that treads some of the same sombre moral territory director Clint Eastwood explored in Unforgiven’.

But, by and large, the negatives were few and far between, with the Chicago Sun-Times furthering the accolades by declaring that ‘Mystic River leads moviegoers on a suspense-filled, sometimes painful adventure marked by great performances’.

Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, felt that it is a ‘crisp, well-made, visually astute film, that will provoke and divide [Eastwood's] admirers’, while Village Voice opined that it ‘Eastwood's 24th directorial feature is his most ambitious in a decade’.

Rounding off this overview, however, are the San Francisco Chronicle, which concluded that ‘at nearly two and a half hours, Mystic River proves that a mystery need not be taut to be riveting’, and the Toronto Star, which hits the nail on the head by stating that ‘it is a movie to closely watch and to savour; the confident direction and the flawless ensemble performances are, quite simply, worthy of Oscars’.

The film opens in UK cinemas on October 17.

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