Books and Movies Reviews

Form Over Content in the Film Mystic River (2004)

The content of the movie Mystic River (2004), directed by Clint Eastwood, demands the form, but in a unique, creative way that is far more interesting and fresh than the typical form of the average "whodunit" murder mystery.The formalistic elements of Mystic River are in fact very non-tr5aditional, in terms of containing not just the typical beginning; middle, and end elements of a "whodunit" murder mystery.Instead, Mystic River begins with Dave being picked up by child molesters posing as city officials while his friends Sean and Jimmy watch helplessly.This opening scene sets the stage for all the rest that follow, as Eastwood then shows the ways that this early horrible experience forever marks, and in various distinct ways interferes with, the separate lives of all three of these childhood friends when they become adults.
In terms of both cinematic style and distinctive shots and camera angles, Mystic River (2004) also contains many imaginative elements of the film noir genre, e.g., smoky bars; dirty rooms; dark alleys, which suit this film in particular very well (but are not usually elements found within the typical "whodunit" film).These film noir elements within Mystic River, however, add significantly to the film's overall mood and atmosphere, of inevitable doom combined with deeply disturbing creepiness and psychological angst on the part of all three major characters; their wives, and others.
In fact, these various film noir elements in particular, combined with the automatic suspense of a more typical "whodunit" that Eastwood also manages to inject into this film, create extra measures of suspense and dread within the film's audience as well.
Some of the more memorable camera shots and angles occur in the epiphany bar scene, in which Jimmy; Sean; and Dave sit talking, with increasing uneasiness together as suspicion slowly builds, especially…


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