Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Mystic River (2003)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Mystic River (2003)

In Clint Eastwood's intense and dark adult crime drama about three childhood friends over a 25 year period:

  • the opening flashback scene of disturbed, violated, and haunted Dave Boyle (Oscar-winning Best Supporting Actor Tim Robbins) with his young son Michael (Cayden Boyd) remembering an incident 25 years earlier in 1975 when he was a young boy (Cameron Bowen as boy), playing street hockey with his boyhood friends Sean Devine (Connor Paolo as boy) and Jimmy Markum (Jason Kelly); at first the threesome wrote their names "forever" in wet concrete (Dave was interrupted and only was able to write DA); then a car pulled up and young Dave was ordered to "Get in" by a man posing as a police officer -- supposedly for "destroying municipal property" -- it was actually an abduction by two pedophiles (who then assaulted him over a 4-day period in a cellar after driving him away in the back seat of a black Ford sedan)
  • the scene, 25 years later, when the emotionally-scarred Dave returned home to his panicked wife Celeste (Marcia Gay Harden); he was suspiciously bloody with injured bloody hands, on the same night as the murder of a 19 year-old female; as she cleaned him up, he claimed that he had fought off a mugger with a knife in a parking lot and worried: "I went f--kin' nuts on him, baby. I- I went off. I bashed his head on the parking lot. There was blood everywhere. I might have killed him"
  • the discovery of a female body in the local park of 19 year-old Katie Markum (Emmy Rossum), the daughter of ex-con and corner patriarchal grocery-store owner Jimmy Markum (Oscar-winning Best Actor Sean Penn); the murder was investigated by Massachusetts State homicide detective Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon); she was both beaten with a stick and shot with a .38 caliber gun

The Body of Katie Markum

Mass. State Detective Sean Devine Looking at Body

Jimmy Markum: "Is she in there?"
  • the scene of grieving Jimmy Markum learning of his daughter's murder, and screaming out hysterically as he was restrained by police at the scene: "Is my daughter in there? Is she in there?! Is that my daughter in there?"
  • during questioning by good-hearted Sean Devine, Jimmy Markum asked: "Did you ever think about how one little choice could change a whole life? I heard Hitler's mother wanted to abort him. At the last minute, she changed her mind. See what I mean...What if you or I had gotten into that car instead of Dave Boyle?...If I'd gotten into that car that day, my life would have been a different thing...If I'd gotten into that car that day, I'd be a basket case" - he hypothesized that if he had been abused 25 years earlier, he wouldn't have been able to even approach the beautiful 18 year-old Latina Marita - Katie's mother: ("I never would have had the juice to go near her. And Katie never would have been born. And she never would have been murdered. You know?")
  • the powerfully-acted scene of Jimmy on the back porch with Dave struggling to grieve and let go with his wrenching tears over the hurtful loss of Katie (Jimmy: "There's one thing you could say about Katie even when she was little. That girl was neat...I loved her..most....And it's really starting to piss me off, Dave, because I can't cry for her. My own little daughter, and I can't even cry for her." Dave: "Jimmy. You're crying now." Jimmy: "Yeah, damn. I just want to hug her one more time. She was 19 f--king years old")
  • the scene of an Dave with his untrusting, panicked wife Celeste when he recalled his childhood's 4-day abuse and felt like an undead vampire: ("Maybe one day you wake up and you forget what it's like to be human...Dave's dead. I don't know who came out of that cellar, but it sure as shit wasn't Dave...It's like vampires. Once it's in you, it stays...")
  • shortly afterwards, the scene of a tormented Celeste telling Jimmy that she suspected her husband as the killer (although Dave had claimed he beat up a pedophile behind McGill's bar in the parking lot the same night that Katie died); Katie was seen dancing seductively in the bar before her late-night murder
  • Jimmy Markum suspected that the murderer was his childhood friend - the disturbed, violated, and haunted sexual abuse victim Dave Boyle; when confronted by Jimmy, Dave first suspiciously confessed that he got his hand caught in a garbage disposal, using that as the alibi for an injured and bloody hand; however, when pressed further, he said that he had seen a suspected pedophile having sex with a child prostitute behind the bar; he murdered the child molester, then put the bloody body in his trunk, and dumped the body behind the bar
  • the scene of a disbelieving Jimmy forcing the innocent Dave to falsely confess and admit that he killed Katie by repeatedly demanding: "Admit what you did, Dave, and I'll let you live" - before stabbing him in the stomach, and finishing him off with a gunshot to the head and throwing his body in the Mystic River - only a few hours before the real killers were identified
  • and the next scene, the following day when Sean told Jimmy that they had found the real killers in the case: the confessed killers were revealed to have known the victim through a clue on a 911 call tape, and found indirectly by tracing the gun back to its registered owner "Just Ray" Harris and to a previous Looney Liquors hold-up 18 years earlier; the two murderers were identified as: (1) 'Silent' Ray Harris Jr. (Spencer Treat Clark), a deaf-mute, and the younger brother of Brendan Harris (Tom Guiry), Katie's boyfriend, and (2) John O'Shea (Andrew Mackin), 'Silent' Ray's skateboard pal; John was the youngest son of father 'Just Ray' Harris (missing, and actually murdered); the two were playing with a gun that night and only meant to scare Katie, but during the prank they hit her with a bullet shot; when she knocked them down with her car door and fled, they chased after her and beat her to death in the local zoo/park with a hockey stick; motive: 'Silent' Ray's motive was the fear that Brendan was leaving to elope with Katie to Las Vegas and would abandon him; he knew where his father's gun was secretly hidden above the Harris' kitchen ceiling, and used it in the accidental murder
  • after finding the real perpetrators, Sean confronted Jimmy and asked: "So, Jimmy, when was the last time you saw Dave?"; Jimmy gave a lamenting reaction: "Thanks for finding my daughter's killers, Sean. If only you had been a little faster" - clueing the detective into realizing that Jimmy had killed Dave. Devine didn't appear to want to press charges. Sean observed: "Sometimes I think, I think all three of us got in that car and all of this is just a dream, you know?...The reality is we're still 11 year old boys locked in a cellar imagining what our lives would have been if we'd escaped"; Jimmy responded: "Maybe you're right. Who the f--k knows?"
Jimmy's Vague 'Confession' to Sean About Killing Dave
"When was the last time you saw Dave?...Jimmy, what did you do?"
"Thanks for finding my daughter's killers, Sean. If only you had been a little faster"
"Sometimes I think, I think all three of us got in that car"
  • the scene of Jimmy admitting his regretful mistake to his wife Annabeth (Laura Linney): "I killed Dave. I killed him, and I threw him in the Mystic. But I killed the wrong man. That's what I've done. And I can't undo it"; she consoled his remorse by speaking about their daughters, and how he had rightfully defended their lives and family, with the right intentions, even though he made a mistake; to comfort him, Annabeth assured Jimmy that even though things might have been different, his decision to kill Dave was the proper and strong one: " ...their daddy would do whatever he had to for those he loved. And that is never wrong. That can never be wrong, no matter what their daddy had to do...Their daddy's a king. And a king knows what to do and does it. Even when it's hard. And their daddy will do whatever he has to for those he loves. And that's all that matters. Because everyone is weak, Jimmy. Everyone but us. We will never be weak. And you, you could rule this town."
  • in the ending sequence, all of the principals were attending the town's parade; when Sean glanced at Jimmy, he mimicked shooting him
  • the final shot of the concrete sidewalk with the three boys' names permanently carved into it, dissolving into superimposed views of the Mystic River and the Tobin Bridge

Flashback to Young Dave Boyle's Abduction by Pedophiles

Suspicious Circumstances: Injured Dave (with Bloody Hands) Returned Home to Wife Celeste

Jimmy Reflecting on the Forces of Fate

Grieving Father Jimmy on Back Porch: "I Can't Even Cry for Her"

Dave on Porch with Jimmy

Dave Recalling His 4-Day Sexual Abuse Incident to Celeste: "Dave's Dead"

Celeste Ratting Out Her Husband Dave to Jimmy

Jimmy Forcing Dave to Falsely Confess to Katie's Murder - And Then Murdering Him

Jimmy's Regretful Remorse Expressed to Consoling Wife Annabeth (Laura Linney)

Ending at Parade: Sean Mimicking Firing Gun at Jimmy

Ending: Concrete Pavement With Carved Names - and the Tobin Bridge Over the Mystic River


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