Mys­tic River

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - SEVEN DAYS -

Tues­day, 9pm, TCM

Amer­i­can crime nov­el­ist Den­nis Le­hane has been well-served when it comes to screen adaptations of his books. Martin Scors­ese’s Shut­ter Is­land and Ben Af­fleck’s Gone Baby Gone were both crit­i­cal suc­cesses. But it is Le­hane’s com­pelling thriller Mys­tic River, a tale of ab­duc­tion, murder and child abuse set in the mean streets of work­ing-class South Bos­ton, that is not only his best book, but also gave di­rec­tor Clint East­wood the ma­te­rial for one of his finest films.

Jimmy (Sean Penn), Sean (Kevin Ba­con) and Dave (Tim Rob­bins) are the child­hood friends whose lives were turned up­side down one day in 1975, when Dave was ab­ducted by two men pos­ing as po­lice­men. A quar­ter of a cen­tury later, Jimmy’s 19-year-old daugh­ter, Katie, is mur­dered and sus­pi­cion falls on Dave, who has never been the same since es­cap­ing the clutches of his cap­tors as a child. Sean, now a cop, has to bal­ance his loy­alty to his friends with his de­ter­mi­na­tion to catch Katie’s killer, while Jimmy (left), an ex-con­vict who now runs a neigh­bour­hood store, de­cides to take the law into this own hands. Guilt, sus­pi­cion and the ghosts of the past threaten to de­stroy Jimmy, Sean and Dave in a closeknit neigh­bour­hood where ru­mour and the law of the streets hold sway.

The story be­hind the film

Den­nis Le­hane’s novel is im­bued with the blue-col­lar cul­ture of Ir­ish South Bos­ton. The stu­dio ex­ec­u­tives wanted to shoot the film in Toronto to save money, but di­rec­tor Clint East­wood in­sisted on shoot­ing on lo­ca­tion in Bos­ton.

In an ef­fort to get un­der the skin of his char­ac­ter, Kevin Ba­con, who plays a de­tec­tive in the movie, spent time in the Mas­sachusetts State Po­lice.

The open­ing of the film, in which the young Dave gets into the car of a cou­ple of strangers pos­ing as plain­clothes po­lice­men, was based on an in­ci­dent when Den­nis Le­hane was scolded by his mother as a child for get­ting into a stranger’s car. Tim Fan­ning

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