During a summer in 1975, Dave Boyle and two friends, Jimmy and Sean, are playing on a sidewalk in Boston when Dave is abducted by two men and subjected to sexual abuse over a period of several days. Eventually escaping, but haunted into adulthood by his trauma, Dave becomes a primary suspect when Jimmy’s daughter, Katie, is found murdered. Sean, assigned to investigate the crime, finds himself facing both demons from the past and demons in the present as the circumstances surrounding Katie’s death are uncovered.
I believe this film is overated, but still good. It hits a lot of emotional tones that do ring true and leaves not only the character haunted but those of us in the audience also.The film works on a bunch of different levels and stories.
It’s a murder mystery, a revenge drama but it favors characters over plot, but both get a decent representation. It’s just that some of it seems overcooked. There are odd points of development that come out of nowhere like near the ending Laura linney gives a speech that sound like King Lear where all of a sudden she is comparing theor family to kings and knights unprovoked. With conviction and attitude. She all of a sudden has a confidence that she never showed before. The same thing haoppens with Tim Robbins character getting grilled by the cops and just because the cops note it also doesn’t mean you are allowed to get away with it because of admission. Even towards the end Sean Penn who has seemed sweet throughout the film slowly starts to look and behave like some aging gangster out of nowhere. Marica Gay Harden’s emotional overacting in desperation.
I realize the film is based on a novel and has to follow the stroy arcs to a degree. Alli a asking is for the Strange elements of the story to be done a little more subtler.
Tim Robbins is good here, but i wouldn’t say oscar worthy. His characterbecomes more like PEter Falk’s Columbo and while you do feel sorry for him. He’s truly is the most tragic character in the film. I wasn’t 100% sold. I feel the reason why a lot of people like the film, Is the thought of how would they react in similar circumstances.
Again the film is based on a book, but you feel like you know these characters. No one get’s out of this film without some kind of blood on their hands Sacrring them for life. The film tries to pull you in emotionally instead of with a compelling story. It ends up laying it on so thick it’s either too much. Suffocating you even running the risk of being melodramatic.
The main difference is that the film explores the emotions of men dealing with tragedy, Instead of with women. It’s a gritty hollywood film instead of a real gritty film. SEan Pen is excellent as usual. Kevin Bacon is memorable in a low key role. Everyone in thecast brings There A game. Even The great Eli Wallach’s one scene is a scene stealer. Putting in a cameo for his old friend and Co-star of THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY. Michael Keaton was originally cast in Kevin Bacon’s role but dropped out a month before filming after an argument with Clint Eastwood. Forrest Whitaker was ORiginally Cast In LAurence Fishburne’s role before he hadto drop out due to another film.
The film is written like a tragedy. So there are really no bright spots. That seems to be the type director Clint Eastwood prefers. No matter how talented he is as a director. When he’s good he is pretty good like this film. Rarely excelelnt though. When he is bad he is terrible. It might be his lack of interest in some of the other parts of the story that causes him to neglect or forget. Being too busy and interested on the acting side of things to pay full attention to the directing and script.
He has a relaxed directing style where he is not as interested in visuals as in reaching the emotional truth of scenes and focusing on characters. Which might come from age or just from working with big name classic directors and learnign from them. Since he tends to direct films that he stars in these days. Sometimes i wonder if he picks projects to keepboredom away. As his projects are random. He wants to keep busy and these are the best he can find. Not to sound insulting. I am just not as impressed by his directing as others are.
Here he picks a good project and the films faults are not entirely his own. He makes a meorable film, A good film yet not a excellent film. The film comes off as needy. It wants so much from the audience. I am not a fan of films that attemot to manipulate me emotionally, but i do admore the craft of this film. Which is why i recommend it and say it is worthy of your film library (At a discount) It won’t be in mine though.