Scarred for life

Dating back to his "man with no name" westerns and including his recurring role as Dirty Harry Callahan, Clint Eastwood has embraced projects that rely on his own version of the three R's: remorse, revenge and redemption. His combination of wounded morality and grim artistry peaked in 1993 with the revisionist western Unforgiven, a chilling tale of a gunfighter who fully comprehends the sinful life he has led ("It's a hell of a thing to kill a man") but proves helpless to do anything about it.

Critics have been treating Mystic River with the same reverence, but the praise is misplaced. It is a very good film, with moments so pure and painful they catch you mid-breath, but it is pocked with too many story flaws to be a masterpiece.


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