Monday, February 09, 2004

Mystic River

Mystic RiverHappened to finish Mystic River and see the movie over the course of the weekend. Sean Penn was outstanding. Certainly worthy of the highest praise (can you picture him kissing the Oscar?). I'm paraphrasing, but a reviewer for the New York Times said something akin to, "Penn's performance was the finest in the history of cinema... DeNiro and Pacino can't hold a candle to him...". Or something like that ;-). Submitted the following review of the book to Amazon.

Clever and heart-wrenching

Few authors are as capable as Lehane. Possessing stellar technical skills and a grand story-telling vision, he's put together something special with _Mystic River_.

Dave, Jimmy and Sean are three Boston kids bound together by a single event: the abduction of Dave by sexual predators posing as cops. Fast forward to the present; Dave is married and struggling with marginal employment; Jimmy is an ex-con trying to make it as a citizen with his ownership of a corner market; and Sean is a homicide detective.

The three find their lives brought together and -- simultaneously -- torn asunder by the abduction and murder of Jimmy's oldest child Katie. A beautiful, vivacious 19 year old, Katie is shot and viciously beaten after her attacker chases her into a nearby park.

Lehane has incredible writing ability, as evidenced by this single sentence describing a neighborhood party that takes place during Jimmy's youth.

"Some of the guys who ran the card game in the back of the Pork Chop Brothers' store brought out a folding table and a small grill, and pretty soon someone else carted out some coolers filled with Schlitz and Narragansett, and the air turned fat with the smell of grilled hot dogs and Italian sausage, the wafting, smoky, charred smell and the whiff of open beer cans making Jimmy think of Fenway Park and summer Sundays and that tight joy you got in your chest when the adults kicked back and acted more like kids, everyone laughing, everyone looking younger and lighter and happy to be around each other."

Aside from a couple of necessary contrivances that tighten up the story, there is little to criticize. Lehane is one of the select few who is completely at the top of their game.

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