The Netflix Murder Mystery Thriller Hurts To Watch

By TeeJay Small | Published

These days, neo-noir crime thrillers seem to be all the rage, with numerous films popping up in the genre each year. This resurgence of the aesthetic can be partially credited to the 2003 film Mystic River, which carries with it an all-star ensemble cast, and a host of Academy Awards. The slow-burning crime thriller is now available on Netflix.

Mystic River Is One Of Clint Eastwood’s Best

mystic river clint eastwood sean penn kevin bacon

Mystic River was directed by acclaimed filmmaker and actor Clint Eastwood, whose illustrious career in Hollywood dates back to a string of spaghetti Westerns in the 1950s. In Mystic River, Eastwood puts his best foot forward, showcasing his uncanny ability to capture high-intensity action and heart-plucking tension. The now 93-year-old filmmaker is also credited as a co-producer and score composer on the film, making it a true labor of love.

Based On The Best-Selling Novel

kevin bacon movie

Mystic River also touts a highly impressive cast, including Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Laura Linney, and Shameless‘ Emmy Rossum. Both Sean Penn and Tim Robbins won Oscar Awards for their performances in the film, making it the first to take home the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor combo since 1959’s Ben-Hur. The film is based on the 2001 Denis Lehane novel of the same name.

Three Friends Whose Lives Diverge In One Moment

Mystic River centers on a group of young friends from Boston, Massachusetts, whose lives are forever changed after one of them is abused by two men who dress as police officers to lure him in. Skipping forward 25 years, the group has seemingly gone their separate ways, though they often cross paths due to still living in the same neighborhood. Dave, the one who was abused, grows up to be a blue-collar worker, who remains traumatized by his childhood experience.

An Intense Ride

kevin bacon movie

Dave’s friend Sean grew up to become a state police officer, who experiences a great deal of difficulty maintaining peace within his family, resulting in his pregnant wife leaving him. Jimmy, the de facto leader of the group, grew up to be an ex-convict and convenience store owner, who is married into Dave’s family. Unfortunately, these friendships continue to erode throughout the runtime of Mystic River, as murder, betrayal, and trauma continue to plague the group.

A Dive Into Trauma

Dave discovers a man assaulting an underage girl on his way home from work, and kills the man in cold blood, responding to his unaddressed childhood trauma. At the very same time, Jimmy’s young daughter Katie is murdered, prompting him to utilize his connections formed through the store and Boston’s criminal underworld to investigate what happened. Eventually, Jimmy comes to suspect Dave, as he can’t keep his story straight about what happened that night, and even he can’t be sure who he killed.

A Gut-Punch Ending

sean penn

From there, the film continues to take a number of twists and turns, revealing a wide net of lies and betrayal plaguing each member of the group. Mystic River performed exceptionally well at the box office, taking in over $156 million against an estimated production budget of only $30 million. Likewise, the film impressed critics and audiences alike, resulting in an 89 percent certified fresh Rotten Tomatoes score.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to catch the star-studded crime thriller, or just need an excuse to rewatch the classic film, Mystic River is currently available to stream on Netflix.