I wanted to like this film. It has a star studded cast with Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, but the story is not believeable and I found myself loosing interest as the this long film of over two hours plodded along.
The movie is basically a murder mystery focused on who killed Katie Markum, Jimmy Markum's (Sean Penn) daughter by his first wife who apparently died while he was in prison serving time on a bum rap for some neighborhood hoodlums that he had fallen in with robbing liquor stores.
Somehow all this is supposed to be connected to an abduction and pedophile rape that occured to Dave Boyle (Tim Robbins) that occured when he, and Jimmy Markum, and the Massachussetts State Police Detective, Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon), were kids and Jimmy and Sean watched Dave get taken away by guys they thought were cops.
The plot thickens and gets more convoluted for no apparent purpose other than to trick the viewer into thinking the story is more interesting than it really is. It ends in a downer, open ended way, that doesn't bring a very satisfying resolution to the story.
The best performance is by Marcia Gay Harden who plays Dave Boyle's wife, Celeste Boyle, and who becomes increasingly worried that Dave is Katie's killer.
I didn't learn much from this movie other than how disappointing people can be because they often don't do the right thing, at least these people don't. I guess the value in this film is if you can see it as a way to not live your life, you will have learned something. It is never clear how the abduction and pedophilic rape of Dave is connected to the events that happen, if it is connected at all, and how it impacts the relationships of the three main characters, Jimmy, Sean, and Dave, and yet it gets alluded to constantly in the film for reasons that are not clear and seem to cloud the story in some ambiguous haze that has nothing to do with anything as far as I can determine.
I don't recommend this movie unless you have nothing better to do than watch worms in the garden.
Mystic River (2003)