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  •  READER COMMENTS

    Reader comments on Mystic River

    Subject: Harsher than a Greek Tragedy
    Date: Nov 24, 2004
    Sender: Harold G.Previous | Next

    WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

    Mystic River is a misunderstood masterpiece.

    Several critics hailed the film as a modern Greek tragedy, but at its core it is really an opposite kind of tragedy. The protagonists of the ancient tragedies were punished by the gods for the sin of hubris. Overweening pride and arrogance caused the heroes' downfall. The characters in Mystic River, however, especially Dave, are punished (and punished repeatedly) for beng weak and lacking self-confidence. Worse, the punishment is passed down to the next generation of innocent children, through no fault of their own. Witness Dave's son, portrayed as a timid little stripling, exactly the type of child who gets picked on by everyone and is likely to be victimized by pedophiles: He is left fatherless at the end, to be raised entirely by the weak, anxious, stupid Celeste, the only woman the ruinously victimized Dave could find for a mate. You just know that things are going to turn out badly for this child. His only sin was having Dave and Celeste for a father and mother.

    Mystic River is more accurately described as a Darwinian tragedy, much bleaker and far more pitiless than anything dreamed up by Aeschylus or Sophocles.

    If critics found any fault at all, it was with the coda that contained Laura Linney's Lady Macbeth speech and the depressing little neighborhood parade. Most critics thought the film should have ended with the scene of Jimmy and Sean standing in the street, recalling their friend's abduction twenty-five years earlier. This ending would have suggested that perhaps they sinned by not protecting their weak friend. But no. Eastwood's ending reinforces the film's pitiless Darwinian ethos: Jimmy's feelings of guilt over murdering his innocent friend Dave are dispelled by his wife's passionate sociobiological sermon, finally freeing him to become the dominant alpha male of the tribe; Celeste is left wandering lost and forlorn among the tribal gathering, shunned for being weak and stupid; and then these contemptible figures recede into ant-like insignificance as the camera moves away from this cruel, squalid spectacle and sinks into the river (a mystic river) that flows on forever, heedless of human suffering. Fade to black.

    Such cheery little movie. I'm surprised it did so well in tragedy-resistant America.

    Previous: MYSTIC RIVER | Next: great movie

    Respond to this message | Return to original article: Mystic River




    Comment index:

  • Mystic Dissapointment   from Gary, Oct 18, 2003
  • Re: Mystic Dissapointment   from vanessa, Oct 20, 2003
  • Re: Mystic Dissapointment   from tekaya hamadi, Dec 11, 2004
  • Re: Mystic Dissapointment   from sue, Oct 20, 2003
  • Re: Mystic Dissapointment   from Robt, Oct 21, 2003
  • Re: Mystic DisaPpointment (SPOILERS)   from audrey, Oct 30, 2003
  • Re: Mystic DisaPpointment (SPOILERS)   from Mariano, Nov 9, 2003
  • Re: Mystic DisaPpointment (SPOILERS)   from audrey, Nov 16, 2003
  • mystic river   from vanessa, Oct 20, 2003
  • Mystic River   from Joann Lessard, Nov 16, 2003
  • mystic river review   from cs53096, Jan 24, 2004
  • Re: mystic river review   from KT, Jan 25, 2004
  • SAVAGE BROTHERS   from Bill, Mar 3, 2004
  • Mystic River   from Farimah, Aug 4, 2004
  • MYSTIC RIVER   from CLARK DALLAS, Nov 24, 2004
  • » Harsher than a Greek Tragedy «   from Harold G., Nov 24, 2004
  • great movie   from terry, Jan 1, 2005
  • Re: Saw movie, but still confused about crime details.   from Duh. It was Jimmy's wife, Oct 21, 2008
  • it's just wrong   from san, Jul 22, 2008
  • Mystic Dissapointment   from Gary, Oct 18, 2003
  • Re: Mystic Dissapointment   from vanessa, Oct 20, 2003
  • Re: Mystic Dissapointment   from tekaya hamadi, Dec 11, 2004
  • Re: Mystic Dissapointment   from sue, Oct 20, 2003
  • Re: Mystic Dissapointment   from Robt, Oct 21, 2003
  • Re: Mystic DisaPpointment (SPOILERS)   from audrey, Oct 30, 2003
  • Re: Mystic DisaPpointment (SPOILERS)   from Mariano, Nov 9, 2003
  • Re: Mystic DisaPpointment (SPOILERS)   from audrey, Nov 16, 2003
  • mystic river   from vanessa, Oct 20, 2003
  • Mystic River   from Joann Lessard, Nov 16, 2003
  • mystic river review   from cs53096, Jan 24, 2004
  • Re: mystic river review   from KT, Jan 25, 2004
  • SAVAGE BROTHERS   from Bill, Mar 3, 2004
  • Mystic River   from Farimah, Aug 4, 2004
  • MYSTIC RIVER   from CLARK DALLAS, Nov 24, 2004
  • » Harsher than a Greek Tragedy «   from Harold G., Nov 24, 2004
  • great movie   from terry, Jan 1, 2005
  • Re: Saw movie, but still confused about crime details.   from Duh. It was Jimmy's wife, Oct 21, 2008
  • it's just wrong   from san, Jul 22, 2008