Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn) and his friends Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon) and Dave Boyle (Tim Robbins) grew up near Mystic River in the blue-collar East Buckingham area of Boston, playing ball in the streets. One day, after scrawling their names into freshly laid concrete on the footpath, Dave is taken away in a car by two men with police badges. It’s 25 years before the lives of the threesome are hurled together again, in the wake of the senseless murder of 19 year old Katie (Emmy Rossum), Jimmy’s daughter from his first marriage. Sean is now a detective and is assigned the case with his partner (Laurence Fishburne), which drags out some terrible demons, including Dave’s memories of those painful days of his youth. And a heartbroken Jimmy is determined to avenge his daughter’s killer before the cops find him.
 

5
Classical filmmaking at its best.

Best friends David, Jimmy and Sean are hanging out on a Boston street when two men, posing as cops, apprehend them and take David away - they turn out to be child molesters. Thirty years later, the three friends have moved in different directions, though they still live in the city. David, Tim Robbins, is an intense man evidently still suffering traumas from that awful period, despite the support of his wife, Celeste, Marcia Gay Harden, and the love of his son. Jimmy, Sean Penn, is a reformed criminal and ex- convict who now runs a store, loves his second wife, Annabeth, Laura Linney, and is devoted to his teenage daughter, Katie, Emmy Rossum, whose mother died. And Sean, Kevin Bacon, is a homicide cop whose wife has left him. When Katie is brutally murdered, Sean leads the investigation, with his partner, Whitey, Laurence Fishburne, an investigation which brings the three old friends together again in unexpected ways.

Clint Eastwood\'s superb, subtle, complex movie is classical filmmaking at its best. Steeped in irony and ambiguity, rich in its reflections on the meaning of friendship and on the terrible legacy of pain and hate that distorts the lives of even decent people, the film is a thoughtful thriller for grown ups. It\'s beautifully photographed by Tom Stern on Boston locations, and the music score, by Eastwood himself, is excellent. And the performances are flawless - Robbins as the damaged David, Penn as the grieving, vengeful Jimmy, Bacon in perhaps his best screen performance as the tenacious yet troubled Sean. Traditional filmmaking? Yes, but in the very best tradition, and Eastwood\'s best film since Unforgiven.