Mystic River (Blu-ray Review)

Mystic River (Blu-ray Review)Mystic River should be on your play list if you are a fan of Law and Order, Criminal Minds, or murder mysteries in general.  The focal point of the film is what appears to be a typical murder, but the high-powered cast delivers over two hours of drama and mystery that is far from anything typical.  The director, Clint Eastwood, does an excellent job showing the hardship and effects of a tragedy that takes place amongst friends.

The Film 

The film takes place in a Boston neighborhood where three childhood friends; Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn), Dave Boyle (Tim Robbins) and Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon) are psychologically damaged by tragedy.  Dave Boyle is abducted and held for four days as a prisoner in a basement before finally escaping.  Details are not given as to what happened to Dave.  That is left up to the audience’s unlimited imagination.  The boys grow up and go their separate ways…that is until Jimmy Markum’s daughter is murdered.

Reunited as men we see how the childhood tragedy affected the development of the boys’ lives.  Dave Boyle is a quiet introvert that is obviously psychologically disturbed.  Jimmy Markum is initially portrayed as an ordinary storeowner.  However, the store is only a “front” masking Jimmy’s life of crime, prison and murder.  Sean Devine arrives back in the old neighborhood as a Massachusetts State Police Detective.  It would appear by Sean’s successful law enforcement career that he was not slighted by the abduction.  However, we later find out that Sean’s wife has left him and that his personal life is in a shambles.

The situation of Jimmy’s daughter being murdered spirals out of control just as the lives of the three boys.  The film begins with a terrible tragedy and ends the same.  But, let’s talk about the fabulous job done by these actors.

Sean Penn delivered one of the best performances of his career.  He makes us believe that he is truly a grieving father.  Penn’s emotional outbursts and reactions are enough to bring tears to any audience.  Tim Robbins’ displays an awesome dimension of his acting ability by capturing the essence of being mentally disturbed.  Dave’s mental state becomes perfectly clear when he snaps in front of his wife.  Kevin Bacon plays an out of character role as a “good guy”.  Typically we are used to seeing Kevin playing “bad guy” roles.  Kevin’s role is underrated.  However, he does a great job presenting a likeable image of a police detective that is honestly trying to solve the crime with minimal collateral damage.

Mystic River 


This movie looks great comparison to standard DVD.  The picture is sharp and vivid with solid blacks.  The object delineation is much improved from standard DVD with minimum inherent film grain.  The picture suffers from time-to-time because of the cleansing of the film grain from the original source, but it’s still a clear upgrade over the DVD.  Warner Brothers used a dual-layer BD50 with a VC-1 codec retaining the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio.

 Mystic River


Unfortunately the film is mostly dialogue where dynamic sound is usually irrelevant.  Regardless, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack provides smooth clarity and subtle bass aiding the suspense and mystery of the film.  The film’s score shines brilliantly.  The surrounds are mostly used for background noises; traffic, crowds, bands, sirens, helicopters, etc.  The soundtrack is not overwhelming, but it is truly effective.

 Mystic River

Special Features 

  • Audio commentary from Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon
  • Mystic River: Beneath the Surface  – The writer, director, and stars talking about the production (22 Minutes).
  • Documentary: Bravo Channel TV Special: Mystic River: From Page to Screen – Similar to the previous feature with commentary from the writer, director and stars about the film production (11 Minutes).
  • The Charlie Rose Show Interviews – Extended interviews discussing the film and their careers from Eastwood, Robbins, and Bacon. All three interviews are excellent.
    • The Charlie Rose Show: Clint Eastwood
    • The Charlie Rose Show: Tim Robbins
    • The Charlie Rose Show: Kevin Bacon
  • Theatrical Teaser – The film’s original theatrical teaser with a voice over by Eastwood (1 Minute).
  • Theatrical Trailer – (2 Minutes)

 Mystic River

Final Thoughts 

Mystic River is both an excellent mystery murder thriller and a stunning accomplishment for Clint Eastwood’s directing career.  The initial story captivates the audience from the beginning and just when you think the plot is completely lost the stars of the film start to shine and take over.  Even if murder mystery is not your genre cup of tea, pick up this film for an excellent bit of fine acting.


Pre-order Mystic River on Blu-ray today!


Mystic River Blu-ray Cover Art 




1 Response to “Mystic River (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    I remember seeing this flick on the dreaded DVD format back in the day. Your review is spot on as I would have to agree that this one is definitely worth a watch…especially on the Blu-ray format 🙂