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"MYSTIC RIVER"
(2003) (Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Extreme Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor Moderate None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Moderate Extreme Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Three former childhood friends are reunited years later when one of their daughters is murdered, another is the investigating detective and the third may be a suspect.
PLOT:
Long ago, Jimmy Markum (SEAN PENN), Dave Boyle (TIM ROBBINS) and Sean Devine (KEVIN BACON) were best friends, hanging out and playing on the streets of Boston. Something bad then happened to Dave, an event that forever changed him and eventually sent all of them on their separate ways.

Now another event has occurred that brings them back together. To the horror of one-time hood and current convenience store owner Jimmy and his second wife, Annabeth (LAURA LINNEY), their 19-year-old daughter, Katie (EMMY ROSSUM), is found brutally murdered.

Sean and his Massachusetts State Police partner Whitey Powers (LAURENCE FISHBURNE) are the first detectives on the scene and set out to solve the case by interviewing various witnesses and potential suspects such as Katie's secret boyfriend, Brendan Harris (TOM GUIRY). As they do their job, Jimmy's criminal friends, the Savage Brothers (KEVIN CHAPMAN & ADAM NELSON), do their own sort of detective work, thug style.

And Dave's timid wife, Celeste (MARCIA GAY HARDEN), begins to question him and his behavior when he returns home on the night of the murder, covered in blood and claiming to have beaten off and possibly killed a mugger. As the events unfold and emotions rise to the boiling point, the three former friends are reunited in ways they never could have imagined.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast, films by director Clint Eastwood or murder mystery type dramas, they just might (although this one likely seems most attractive to older teens).
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
Certain characteristics and later developments are not noted below to preserve the film's surprises.
  • SEAN PENN plays a former thug (who served time in prison) turned convenience store owner who vows to find and kill the person who murdered his teenage daughter. He uses strong profanity, drinks, and grieves.
  • TIM ROBBINS plays his former childhood friend who's still not right as an adult after being abducted and apparently sexually assaulted as a boy. He uses strong profanity and ends up being a prime suspect in the murder (he does do someone some harm).
  • KEVIN BACON plays their former childhood friend who's now a detective working Katie's murder. He uses strong profanity and must deal with his wife having recently left him.
  • LAURENCE FISHBURNE plays his partner who thinks Dave's the perp. He uses strong profanity.
  • LAURA LINNEY plays Jimmy's second wife who similarly grieves over their daughter's murder.
  • MARCIA GAY HARDEN plays Dave's timid wife who becomes increasingly concerned about him, his behavior and the possibility that he's the killer.
  • EMMY ROSSUM plays the young murder victim. She uses some profanity, has a secret boyfriend and parties with her friends.
  • TOM GUIRY plays her secret boyfriend who cares for his younger, mute brother but is also viewed as a potential suspect in the murder.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 72 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Some brief, sexually related dialogue is present, as is a scene with a husband and wife fooling around on a bed.

    Violence consists of a person being stabbed and shot to death, some brutal attacks on others, an off-screen murder, a kidnapping and implied child molestation. Some of those scenes have rather bloody results and they and others may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.

    A father and mother must deal with the murder of their 19-year-old daughter, while other tense family material is also present. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while some smoke and/or drink (with one being rather intoxicated).

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • A man holds a beer.
  • We see beer and beer ads in Jimmy's shop.
  • Dave and a friend drink in a bar where others drink, including Katie and her friends who hold beer while dancing on the bar counter.
  • Annabeth's father brings a case of beer to her and Jimmy's place for a gathering following news of Katie's murder. Jimmy then drinks beer.
  • Jimmy pours himself some liquor and Celeste asks if she can have some as well (she does).
  • A comment is made about grabbing a beer sometime.
  • We see a wall of liquor bottles in a store.
  • Dave holds a beer.
  • Dave states that he's tired and hung over.
  • Brendan says his father smelled like Schlitz in the past.
  • The Savage brothers invite Dave for some beer and we then see that they've been drinking a lot (by the number of shot glasses on the table and as the day turns into night). We also see them drinking a lot, Jimmy joins them and drinks and Dave then says he's going to be sick from drinking too much.
  • Whitey tells Sean to go home and have a drink.
  • We see Jimmy with a bottle on the street. He drinks from it, while Sean also takes a swig from it.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see what may be blood inside a car (the seats are red, so it's hard to tell what's briefly seen).
  • Dave has some blood on his hand and shirt when he returns home (claiming he beat up and possibly killed a mugger who attacked him). Celeste then wrings out some blood from a rag into the sink.
  • We see some blood inside a car where a person was shot (the latter is not seen).
  • We see a dead teenage girl's body in the park and it has some blood on it (we hear she was shot and then beaten with a hockey stick).
  • We see Katie's dead body (just head and shoulders, the rest is under a sheet) in a funeral home.
  • We see a flashback of a man repeatedly punching a person (with brutal punches) and blood on the man's face.
  • Dave vomits (from drinking too much).
  • A guy punches, kicks and repeatedly stomps down on a guy's face (in a brutal fashion and with very bloody results).
  • A man stabs another man (we don't see the impact, but do see blood on the injured man's shirt as he lies on the ground).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The person(s) responsible for the murder obviously has extreme bad attitudes.
  • A man poses as a cop, ends up abducting young Dave and then he and another man apparently sexually assault him over the course of four days (the latter is not seen, although we see Dave in a cellar pleading, "Please, no more").
  • The boys talk about taking a car for a joy ride, but that doesn't occur.
  • We hear that Jimmy was in prison for several years for robbery.
  • Dave lies to various people about how he hurt his hand.
  • Brendan's mom has a bad attitude about Katie (despite her just being murdered) and others.
  • Celeste lies to cover for Dave's lies.
  • Jimmy says he didn't like Brendan's father from the past.
  • Whitey bends the rules of police work a bit.
  • A man admits to killing another man in the past.
  • A person murders another person.
  • We learn that a woman is very cold-hearted and callous about an innocent person being killed.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" might also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • A man poses as a cop, ends up abducting young Dave and then he and another man apparently sexually assault him over the course of four days (the latter is not seen, although we see Dave in a cellar pleading, "Please, no more"). We then see him running through the woods having escaped from his confinement (we don't see anyone chasing him).
  • It appears that some men are setting up another man to do something bad to him. We then see them apparently preparing to do him harm (and/or kill him).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Knife: Used to threaten or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • A convenience store owner shows Sean and Whitey that he has a shotgun under his counter.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Get the f*ck inside," "Weirdest f*cking thing I've heard of," "I f*cked up," "I went f*cking nuts on him," "We're so f*cking out of here," "About f*cking time," "F*ck man," "What the f*ck am I going to tell him?" "F*cked up," "What is the f*cking point?" "You're f*cking lying," "Don't f*cking p*ssy on us," "F*ck him," "Shut the f*ck up," "You f*cking freak," "You scared the sh*t out of me," "Oh sh*t," "Piece of sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "Sure as sh*t," "Sh*tty," "D*ckhead," "Brats," "Punks," "Chicks," "Bled like hell," "Bitch" (man), "Screw up," "What the hell are you doing here?" "Hurt like hell," "Piss me off," "Scumbag," "Knuckleheads," "I ain't your bitch" (said by a man to another man), "Kicked our asses," "Balls" (testicles), "Take a piss," "Slick as hell," "Nuts" (crazy), "Bonehead," "Idiot" and "Shut up."
  • The boys talk about taking a car for a joy ride, but that doesn't occur.
  • Jimmy has various tattoos on his body.
  • Brendan's brother gives "the finger" to him.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • The sudden sound of a gunshot might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 72 "f" words (4 used with "mother"), 17 "s" words, 1 slang term each using male and female genitals ("d*ck" and "p*ssy"), 5 hells, 3 asses, 3 damns, 2 S.O.B.s, 4 uses each of "G-damn" and "Oh my God," 3 each of "Jesus" and "Oh God," 2 each of "Christ" and "Oh Christ" and 1 use each of "God," "My God" and "Jesus Christ."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see Katie and Brendan kiss in her car.
  • Whitey talks about a female cop who would make gay men rethink their orientation. He then tells Sean that she wants to bed Sean, not wed him, and is upset that Sean isn't pursuing her for that.
  • We see Annabeth in her nightie (but don't see anything explicit).
  • Annabeth (who's clothed) straddles Jimmy (who's shirtless and lying on a bed). They kiss and he partially rolls over on top of her.
  • SMOKING
  • The Savage brothers smoke various times, while Sean, Dave and Annabeth each smoke once, while some miscellaneous characters smoke in several scenes.
  • Jimmy's worker talks about a shortage of cigarettes in their store.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Sean's wife left him six months ago and has since given birth to a child he's never seen. She calls him on the phone various times, but doesn't say anything.
  • Jimmy and his wife must deal with their daughter being murdered. Jimmy is on the crime scene (but doesn't see her), later identifies her body at the morgue, visits her at the funeral home, and grieves a great deal afterwards.
  • We hear that Jimmy's first wife died of cancer.
  • Annabeth's father mentions he also lost a family member in the past (who died in her sleep).
  • Celeste gets progressively uncertain and nervous around Dave, particularly when he acts more and more unhinged and confused.
  • Brenda says that his father left when the boy was six, but sends money every month.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Murder and detective work.
  • Losing a child and the grieving process.
  • Teens who plan on running away and eloping.
  • A man poses as a cop, ends up abducting young Dave and then he and another man apparently sexually assault him over the course of four days.
  • How past events still affect people in the present.
  • People who are mute.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A man posing as a cop throws young Dave into the backseat of his car (and he and another man apparently sexually assault him over several days, but that isn't seen).
  • The Savage brothers push their way through a crowd and then struggle with some police to get to a crime scene.
  • We see a dead teenage girl's body in the park and it has some blood on it (we hear she was shot and then beaten with a hockey stick).
  • While mad at their mom, Brendan briefly pushes and pins his brother to the wall.
  • A man admits to killing another man in the past.
  • We see a flashback of a man repeatedly punching a person (with brutal punches) and blood on the man's face.
  • Brendan grabs his brother by the hair and then throws him across a table.
  • A guy punches another guy he knows has done something bad. He then kicks and repeatedly stomps down on the guy's face (in a brutal fashion and with very bloody results).
  • An injured young guy holds a handgun on two cops who try to diffuse the situation. One then struggles with the guy and disarms him.
  • A man stabs another man (we don't see the impact, but do see blood on the injured man's shirt as he lies on the ground).
  • A man shoots and presumably kills another man, but we don't see the impact.



  • Reviewed October 1, 2003 / Posted October 8, 2003

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