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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Clint Eastwood
USA 2003

In Eastwood's seminal western ”Unforgiven”, William Munny contemplates about having done his job, “It’s a hell of a thing to kill a man. You take away all his got and all he ever gonna have.” Where many at that time connected “Unforgiven” with “Outlaw Josie Wales” and “Pale Rider” as a trilogy of revenge, a revision is in order after his latest film “Mystic River”, as it has more in common with “Unforgiven” than the two other films.

When the daughter of the local tough guy, Jimmy (Sean Penn), is found murdered, he promises himself, that he will find and kill the person who did it. And while the police are doing their job to almost perfection, Jimmy and his friends are doing theirs.

On the surface “Mystic River” is a crime thriller, but beneath, it is an allegory about how pain from the past plays in on our lives, about how things never spoken about publicly eats us up inside. Each of the three men, once childhood friends, carry an unspoken pain and fear within them: Jimmy, because of the loss of his daughter, Sean, having worked his wife out of his life, and finally Dave, who was abused for four days as a child. Towards the end, Sean contemplates: “In reality, we’re all just 11-year old boys, locked in a cellar, imagining how our lives would have been if we’d escape.”

Where “Unforgiven” answers many of the questions it puts forward, “Mystic River” answers none; if it did, it would betray its theme. We spend the our lives searching for answers, and even though some find a short cut by direct action, the pain from what’s hidden within still is there. To ease this pain, men have wives. The wife supports and makes the man what he is; without her, a man is alone with his demons. Towards the end, where Jimmy stands alone, ready to pay for his sins, Annabeth comes and heals him, by manipulating truth into the words Jimmy needs to hear, into words about love and family. Similar, in the subplot of Sean, who gets his wife back in the end. And while Eastwood offers the illusion of forgiveness, there is none, as there is nothing to forgive: Things are done and cannot be undone, so we accept them, lie to ourselves and move on. As such, “Mystic River” is a much darker film in context than “Unforgiven”.

Another interesting aspect is the representation of the church versus the images of the crucifix. The child molester was a man of God (his ring) and Jimmy is a man of God (the communion, his tattoo), both sinners, both destined for hell. Yet God is never mentioned. These are Irish Catholics, you simply belong to the church, but inherited in the presentation of the crucifix lies, that those wearing the cross are men of evil, similar to “Unforgiven”, where those wearing the ‘law’ are evil. This dichotomy of something that affects us all and those who ‘hide’ behind it seems a common motif in the films of Eastwood. Equally similar to “Unforgiven”, the film expands towards the end and becomes almost Shakespearian: The desperation of Celeste, the insanity of Dave, the ‘lady Macbeth’ allusion of the actions of Annabeth, the portrayal of Jimmy as a king above the law all adds to this. Few films are able to do this, Eastwood has now made two with such a quality.

As a last note, I have to mention the acting, as it is impossible to talk about “Mystic River” and not to talk about the acting, as it has some of the most impressive, if not the best performance of any Eastwood film. Sean Penn, being the best American actor of today and arguable the greatest American actor since Brando, is such a force, that you can feel almost physically can feel his persona. Equally impressive is Tim Robbins, who seems to get more and more lost in his search for answers. Their Oscars are so fully deserved. Equally so are Laura Linney and Marcia Gay Harden. It is so rare to see a film with such a cast, that acts with such conviction. Spellbinding.

“Mystic River” was the best American film of last year and a masterpiece. Is it better than “Unforgiven”? I’m tempted to say so, but “Unforgiven” has ten years head start, so ask me again in ten years.

Henrik Sylow

Poster

Theatrical Release: May 23rd, 2003 - Cannes Film Festival

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 Comparison:

Warner Home Entertainment (Widescreen Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner Home Entertainment (3 Disc De Luxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Warner Home Entertainment (Widescreen Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Warner Home Entertainment (3 Disc De Luxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Warner Home Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Warner Home Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC
Warner
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:17:40 2:17:43 2:17:56.810
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.72 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.90 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,811,218,300 bytes

Feature: 37,327,128,576 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.43 Mbps

Codec: VC-1 Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Warner Home Entertainment (Widescreen Edition)

 

Bitrate:

 

Warner Home Entertainment (3 Disc De Luxe Edition)

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital English, 5.1 Dolby Digital French

5.1 Dolby Digital English, 5.1 Dolby Digital French, 2.0 Dolby Digital English (Audio commentary)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3507 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3507 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs: Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio German 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Hungarian 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

Subtitles English, French, Spanish and None English, French, Spanish and None English, Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish and None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: June 8th, 2004
Keep case

Chapters 36
 

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Disc 1
• Audio Commentary by Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon
• ...
• Disc 2
• Mystic River: Beneath the surface (22:51)
• Mystic River: From page to screen (11:31)
• ...
• Charlie Rose Show interviews
• Clint Eastwood (41:49)
• Tim Robbins (50:24)
• Kevin Bacon (19:05)
• ...
• Theatrical teaser (1:15)
• Theatrical trailer (2:20)
• CD Original Soundtrack (Disc 3)

 

DVD Release Date: July 13, 2004
Special Thin Box

Chapters 36

Release Information:
Studio:
Warner

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,811,218,300 bytes

Feature: 37,327,128,576 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.43 Mbps

Codec: VC-1 Video

 

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon
• Mystic River: Beneath the surface (22:51)
• Mystic River: From page to screen (11:31)
• Charlie Rose Show interviews
• Clint Eastwood (41:49)
• Tim Robbins (50:24)
• Kevin Bacon (19:05)
• Theatrical teaser (1:15)
• Theatrical trailer (2:20)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: February 2nd, 2010
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 36

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Warner Blu-ray January 2010': While there are plenty of older titles that I'd like to see brought to 1080P resolution, Mystic River is such a great film and very much worth the excuse to revisit.  I think it's a great choice by Warner to move to Blu-ray. As far as visual improvement, I hope the screen caps below, as compared to the previous NTSC DVDs, give you a good idea of how much tighter, more detailed, and sharper the image quality is. Even contrast and colors leap ahead. It's a VC-1 encode with a decent bitrate and this looks very good and occasionally even impressive with some desirable depth. Dependant on your system - the superiority is moderate to heavy over the previous SD-DVDs.  The Blu-ray is slightly brighter and shows a tad more information in the frame.

Continuing with good news - Warner have passed on their usual lossless TrueHD for a similarly lossless, and preferable by this reviewer, DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a healthy 3507 kbps. This sounds excellent with every nuance of the original soundtrack promoted to better separated, and more robust audio with Eastwood's own original score. It is a noticeable improvement from the DVDs - probably even more than the obvious video transfer improvement.

There are no new extras - we get the same strong commentary, featurettes and interviews - none in HD. The only thing we lose is the CD offered with the 3-disc package.

I'd either forgotten how impacting this film is, or the improved A/V sent that message to be even more pronounced level. Mystic River is one of the better films of the past 10 years and this Blu-ray was a real treat to revisit the film. We give it a very high recommendation! 

 

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVDs: Great image, great contrast. There may be some very minimal edge enhancement but it is too negligible to be concerned about. Great audio track. Only failing in the Extras department, but there is an SE (3 disc) version which I don't know much about. After seeing the film I may consider getting it as it is quite an impacting experience (and performances!). I was reminded of the Buena Vista's "25th Hour" DVD image, but with less grain. A commentary would have been great, but I understand the idea of 'up-selling' but still for this bare bones DVD I give out of

Warning: A Single Disc Fullscreen version exists!

Perhaps its me, but it seems as if there is the 3-Disc SE (and the Sandrew Metronome aswell) have a sharper and more detailed picture, yet slightly grainy. But be that as it may, this is virtually the same disc in picture quality.

The 3 Disc DeLuxe Edition is a great box. The audio commentary with Robbins and Bacon arguable is better than one by Eastwood and Penn, as they comment on Eastwoods direction and Penn's acting. Its almost feels like a masterclass in acting at some points. Just great. On disc 2 there are two average featurettes and then three, as always, superb interviews by Charlie Rose. As the third disc is the soundtrack of the film.
 

 - Henrik Sylow

 


DVD Menus

(Warner Home Entertainment (Widescreen Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Warner Home Entertainment (3 Disc De Luxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

 

 

 

Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

Screen Captures

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

1) Warner Home Entertainment (Widescreen Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Entertainment (3 Disc De Luxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner Home Entertainment (Widescreen Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Entertainment (3 Disc De Luxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Warner Home Entertainment (Widescreen Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Entertainment (3 Disc De Luxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner Home Entertainment (Widescreen Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Entertainment (3 Disc De Luxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Warner Home Entertainment (Widescreen Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Entertainment (3 Disc De Luxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner Home Entertainment (Widescreen Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Entertainment (3 Disc De Luxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Warner Home Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Warner Home Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC
Warner
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

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Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: 3 Disc De Luxe Edition