brads_requiem (brads_requiem) wrote,

concerning a past entry, on a certain subject...

a conversation at work the other day prompted me to pop in the powerhouse movie mystic river the other night. mystic river was of course directed by clint eastwood, and starred sean penn, tim robbins, and kevin bacon as the male leads. since i first saw it, i always praised sean penn's performance, but i never truly understood why i liked it so much.

in any case, i went through a painstaking review of past journal entries to find out where i mentioned mystic river, and what i thought about it, when i first wrote about it. i knew my former manager had purchased me a copy sometime before april of 2005, but i wasn't entirely sure when i wrote an entry about it. i found several entries that detailed me reading the book by dennis lehane. and certainly more entries that discussed a phony emotional distress, and depressed nature. i look back on those entries with shame, but contend they are part of my past. and it's a great measuring stick.

on thursday march 3rd, 2005 at 8:03pm I wrote an entry titled consequences aside, continue your destruction. an obvious reference to my shattered life, struggling to get over a first love, and maybe for the first time realizing that i wasn't a little boy watching movies in the dark anymore. the entry talks of a few things, but at the end there is a small paragraph that mentions mystic river. 

"also, yesterday i asked pam if i could borrow mystic river. we had both bought a copy when it was released and i don't have mine anymore. so anyway i asked her, she said sure, and then she went out and bought it for me. she's like the mother i never had. her birthday is next week, so i gotta get her something. last year i got her concert tickets to the howard shore symphony at heinz hall, seeing how were both lord of the rings junkies. but i got no clue as to this year. but yeah, back to the whole mystic river thing. the story is not that original. but this movie has the most brillant acting ever. sean penn is absolutely amazing. i'm gonna watch it when i get home tonight."

tonight when i got home, i was watching t.v. and realized that i had written about mystic river before. but i knew that i had only written a passing comment. and that's all there was to it. after watching mystic river the other night i realized i had been wrong in that comment. this film is possibly one of the greatest movies to come out of hollywood since the turn of the century. 

i say in the comment, that the story is not that original. but i was wrong. it's filled with novelty. the story opens with jimmy, sean, and poor dave boyle playing hockey on the street. a few minutes into their lives and they are writing their names in wet cement. at this point a man pretending to be a cop takes dave into the back of his car. a single event that would shape the outcome of the rest of the story. their lives were changed forever when dave boyle was abducted.

the story jumps ahead, sometime in the future when they are grown and have their own families. dave and his son are walking down the old street where the preceding events had occured. the sidewalk with their names written in it was old and weathered. i thought for a long time about that. about how the events that had transpired were long past, but certainly not forgotten. how they would never be forgotten, etched into whatever sidewalk for all time. 

the main character's daughter ends up being murdered further into the movie. and i began to see, as the movie progressed, how the one event occuring so many years before, had filtered down into their lives now. how it had affected their personalities, and how the event directed their lives in certain ways. jimmy's defensive and impulsive nature, sean's disillusioned nature, and dave's paranoid and uptight nature, all stemming from this one event. the end of the story is ultimately determined by their personalities.

as said before, i had always liked sean penn's performace. i never cared much for his films before, but his acting in this movie was about as emotional as you can get without actually expieriencing the event yourself. a few scenes worth noting are the obvious ones. jimmy learning that his daughter had died. another scene when jimmy is talking to his wife's father. and yet another when jimmy and dave are sitting on his porch. these moments are so brief but they are pinnacle of what great acting can be. the oscars that year awarded penn his first oscar. i ponder the times he had been nominated before, and realize there was never a perfomance that deserved that award before. all best acting oscars should be compared to his portrayal of jimmy markum. 

that same year marked the release of return of the king. peter jackson's finale to lord of the rings franchise. even though eastwood was nominated for mystic river, jackson was awarded the best director oscar. i have often contended that jackson deserved that oscar more than anyone else that year. but a rather interesting argument arose in my head as i watched mystic river. i thought about the role of the director. i asked myself what the director's job was. and i've often viewed it as the person who puts it all together. but the director views the movie in his head, he sees it before it is even filmed. his job is to put across the emotional and literal meaning of the film. his job includes pulling the best possible perfomances from the actors and actresses as he can. to put those actors in enviroments where their perfomance will shine, and in the end put it all together. so after i considered that i wondered who deserved the best director oscar. i still think peter jackson deserved it. but certainly not just for return of the king, for all three movies.

so, hopefully that makes up for that trightful blurb i wrote, about the nature and power of mystic river. 

"yeah, well... like i said dave. this next part you do alone" - Sean Penn

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