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MYSTIC RIVER

Iíve said it before, and Iíll say it again, I hate ďuglyĒ movies.
And Clint Eastwoodís Mystic River is an ugly movie.
Doesnít make it a bad movie, because itís an excellent movie. But it is ugly.

Adapted by Brian Helgeland from what apparently is a very popular novel by Dennis Lehane, Clint Eastwood does a great job of bringing us into the murky lives of some tortured souls. I actually bought the novel about a month ago, when I decided I didnít feel like seeing the flick. I have yet to read it, but all the positive buzz (and Oscar noms) made me decide to go ahead and see this grown up film. I tend to stay away from a lot of grown up fare, because itís so not me. But every now and then, the buzz is just too good. Well, the buzz is very much deserved with Mystic River. I canít say I enjoyed it, because itís not an enjoyable film at all. But it tells an interesting story and features some incredible acting.

Leading the powerhouse performances is a buff and tattooed Sean Penn.
I rarely see his films. He tends to make quirky, out of the way flicks, but Mystic River is pretty mainstream. Penn gives a great, harrowing performance as a grieving father mourning the ugly loss of his daughter. He covers all the bases here, and I totally understand his getting the Oscar nod.
Tim Robbins gives a disturbing performance as a troubled man with a close connection to Pennís character. He already won the Golden Globe for this role, so his Oscar nod can be a sure thing too, but Iím not so sure.
Marcia Gay Harden is also nominated for an Oscar for her excellent work too. I can almost see her winning, but I somehow feel costar Laura Linney had an even more powerful role.
Kevin Bacon and Laurence Fishburne havenít gotten all that much praise for their roles in Mystic River, but I feel they both did great jobs here, especially Bacon. Heís a ďgo-to-guyĒ. You can basically put him in any flick, and heíll do a great job, and I think his role here may be one of his best.

But while I applaud Clint Eastwood on his nomination, and for the film itself being nominated, I canít help but think that director Peter Jackson and his third installment of the LORD OF THE RINGS will get all the glory come Oscar night.
But Mystic River is a powerhouse of a flick, and it deserves all itís glory too.

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