Saturday: 31.January.2004

Mystic River

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced its NOMINEES for the 76th Oscars, to be held 29February (Sunday). Before then, I'll try to see all the films nominated for BEST PICTURE. (So when they choose the wrong one, I can gripe with authority.)

Saw Mystic River last night, staring Sean Penn (nominated for BEST ACTOR). Well-made film. Worth seeing for that aspect alone. Directed by Clint Eastwood (nominated for BEST DIRECTOR). More disturbing than I expected. Not a "feel-good" flick by any means. The theater was packed.

Haunting story set in Boston. I liked the way it takes you deep into the neighborhood. It grabs you from the git-go and moves along at a strong clip. No time to get bored. You continually learn little secrets about the characters. Wasn't until the very end that I had trouble with plausibility. They tried to pull a surprise ending out of their, um, hat. Good acting by everyone, especially Penn. Strong cast.

continued

I noticed Lawrence Fishburn (who played 'Whitey') picked up on the nuances of communication in New England. I grew up there and detected many subtle mannerisms. I would wager he spent time there studying the people. For me, his performance added a surprisingly genuine feel to the film.

There was one line, where Lawrence Fishburn and Kevin Bacon exit a coffee shop (Starbucks?), both carrying a to-go cup of coffee, and Fishburn says, "You like this stuff. Tastes just like Dunkin Donuts, but costs 15 times as much." The whole theater erupted in laughter.

Rotten Tomatoes reviews for Mystic River are posted here. I could recommend this film if you don't mind seeing a disturbing film with a contrived ending. If this film has a weakness, it is that it pushes the limits of believability regarding the number of coincidences that occur to make the story work. Most viewers are willing to overlook these contrivances because the acting & execution are done so well.

I already saw Lord of the Rings and Seabiscuit. So that leaves only Lost in Translation (maybe tonight) and Master & Commander on my 'to-see' list.

Here in SoCal, in the shawdow of Hollywood, the Oscars represent a reason to get together and party. And this year we have new flat-screen high-definition TV to watch them on (Panasonic).





Posted by Rad at January 31, 2004 10:29 AM

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