Clint Eastwood has been in numerous films, he is simply a recognized icon everywhere he goes, and his Dirty Harry character is unforgettable. As a film director he’s also been successful winning a couple of academy awards and plenty of nominations, one which include Mystic River. The film has been praised by many since the day it was released. So let’s see what Warner has to offer with its release on Blu-ray.
Mystic River begins with three childhood friends, Sean Devine, Jimmy Markum, and Dave Boyle, who encounter a series of events that will mark them for the rest of their life, at least one of them. As the kids played out in the street, a man posing as a police officer takes Dave and is later known that this man is a molester. This event stays with Dave all the way to adulthood making wary of his surroundings. Decades later, Jimmy and Dave still live in Boston, and now adults they have their own lives and families to take care of. Jimmy is an ex-con who runs a local store and Dave is a blue-collar worker. One night Jimmy’s daughter goes out for the night and little did she know it was going to be her last. That same night Dave returns home a bloody mess. Seeing the suspicious circumstances and Jimmy’s daughter murder it’s up to Sean to solve the puzzle before a heartbroken father does justice with his own hands.
It’s not often that you get a film which delivers Oscar worthy performances from your main actors, it just simply doesn’t happen often. I am not even sure where to begin. Sean Penn delivers the performance of his life, personally I think this is Penn at his best, it’s heartbreaking, emotional, and gut-wrenching. His acting is excellent and that’s putting it lightly. It’s really hard to imagine what would happen if you lost a loved one in the same manner as Penn’s character,Jimmy, but yet his performance is so impressive that it’s incredibly believable. Tim Robbins apparently did get the memo and what does he do? He delivers another top notch acting performance. His complete demeanor is spot on, never giving a hint of what the man inside of him is going through, the face of anguish and guilt appears throughout the third act of the film.
Clint Eastwood commanding lead as a director really makes this film come through. His vision helps to appropriately make this adaptation work. Clint manages to get the most out of his actors even when the main characters are off screen. The score sets the tone and can’t be any more perfect and fitting. The daunting feeling left by it is excellent and sucks you into the story. Overall the film is a more of a tragedy than anything else, most of the time we find ourselves following the film’s slow pace. But if you happen to overlook this you will find yourself with a masterpiece. Everything in this film just comes together and couldn’t possibly get a better ending result.
Mystic River arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 encode framed at 2.40:1. If you have seen the DVD you will most likely notice the upgrade onto high definition. Viewers will instantly notice that the image is much clearer and details tend to reveal much more than before. Colors are much better reproduced, black colors have more depth. This time around the skin tone colors appear much more lifelike, there’s no more inconsistency. Warner took the job and went ahead and removed lots of small issues that affected the DVD release, but there is some DNR noticeable. Although, WB took most of the issues out of the film there is some softness or smearing in certain scenes. All in all this is a decent upgrade over the previously released DVD version.
Mystic River arrives on Blu-ray with an excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Just like video, the audio is an instant upgrade over the DVD counterpart. Dialogue is properly prioritized and it works perfectly along with the score which is spot on. The rears are utilized quite nicely throughout to give that special tone to every scene with the score specially the quitter ones. At times the sound completely sucks you in. Several scenes really show the great sound included in the film. Whether it’s your first time watching or upgrading, you’ll be left pleased.
For this Blu-ray edition of Mystic River features a set of decent supplements which include a nice 2 hour set of Charlie Rose interviews. Just know that none of the extras are in high definition. Check out the list of extras below.
Audio Commentary – Features Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins in a somewhat interesting commentary. However, it does tend to be a bit slow and not as insightful as one would hope.
From Page to Screen – A Bravo TV special about Mystic River featuring some interviews along with some scenes from the film.
Beneath the Surface – Features the filmmakers and cast and they examine the adaptation of the book onto the big screen. This feature is overall a very good supplement that deserves at least a look.
Charlie Rose Interviews – features three interviews with Clint Eastwood, Kevin Bacon, and Tim Robbins. Very interesting segment that will run almost two hours and is highly recommended.
What can I say about Mystic River that hasn’t been told before? The film has been praised left and right for its gripping story and Oscar winning performances. Clint Eastwood’s film-making vision and a screenwriter as brilliant as Brian Helgeland have put together a masterpiece. Although, I think the transfer deserved more, what we got is sufficient as long as your expectations are too high. The supplements are only salvable thanks to the interviews, but something else could have been added. Overall, Mystic River is a decent upgrade over the DVD and should please the fans of the film.