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Blu-ray Review: Mystic River

Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2010 3:26 PM

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Front Cover ArtworkMystic River
Warner Home Video
138 Minutes

List Price: $28.99 (Check Price at Amazon.com)

This movie is also available from Amazon on DVD.

Available 2/2/2010

Rated R

Click here for additional movie details, including the full plot summary, cast listing, trailers and videos, photos, reviews of the movie, and links to the official movie web site and more.

  TheatricalThis Disc
Video Format:
35mm film
1080p VC-1
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 2.40:1

Dolby Digital
DTS Digital

DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1


Movie: BD-50 (x1) BD-MV

Disc Contents

  • No Upfront Ads!
  • Movie
  • Extras
    • Commentary by Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon
    • Mystic River: Beneath the Surface (22:52 2ch VC-1 SD)
    • Mystic River: From Page to Screen (11:32 2ch VC-1 4:3 SD)
    • The Charlie Rose Show Interviews with Clint Eastwood, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon (1:51:23 2ch VC-1 4:3 SD)
    • Teaser and Theatrical Trailers (3:35, 2ch VC-1 HD)

About the Movie

Three friends who grew up in working-class Boston drift apart after a terrible tragedy. Years later, brutal events reconnect them. Jimmy’s 19-year-old daughter is coldly murdered. Dave is a suspect. And Sean, now a cop, scrambles to solve the crime before volatile Jimmy takes the law into his own hands.

How Does it Look?

Still from the movie (not an actual screenshot)

I found the picture quality of the main feature very good. Harshly lit interiors looked appropriate and there wasn't any evidence of excessive edge enhancement, which can result in a "halo" effect along edges. Dark exterior shots can also be challenging, and this disc shows no signs of any issues with artifacting or rendering shadowed scenes. The picture quality supports the movie very well.

How Does it Sound?

Being a character-based drama, you shouldn't expect a stunning soundtrack, but the dialog should be clear, the music should be free of issues, and there shouldn't be any sound-related issues that would distract you at all.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack provided does that job very well. Even when Tim Robbins' character is mumbling about vampires, it's always possible to understand him, and when a gunshot finishes a scene, you feel its impact. When Dave is running through the woods, the sound moves between the surround and front channels to escalate the sense of fear.

Just like the picture quality, the sound quality supports the movie nicely.


The extras included on this release appear to be the same as those available in the original 2004 DVD release of the movie, Mystic River (Three-Disc Collector's Edition). The third disc of that release contained the soundtrack for the movie, which is not found in this release. It's unfortunate that the isolated score was not included as an option, whereby you could watch the movie with only the soundtrack playing. I think that would have been a very interesting feature to have provided on this release.

I like to see the theatrical trailer included with movies, so I was glad to see that two of them are included here. Being able to watch the trailer helps one to appreciate how the movie was marketed during its theatrical release, so I appreciate when the studios do this for their customers.

Beneath the Surface and From Page to Screen are videos produces at the time of the movie's release that interview the cast and crew about their experiences making the movie. They share some common material, so you get to hear the same quotes from the same people, but they still reveal tidbits of information that add to the enjoyment of the movie.

The Charlie Rose interviews were actually pretty interesting. His interview with Clint Eastwood was the most interesting of the bunch, probably because Eastwood is interesting to listen to. He doesn't tend to talk to hear his own voice, so what he says is usually worth listening to.

I listened to a little of the commentary track by Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon, but not much. Time usually doesn't permit a complete second viewing of the movie just to listen to the commentary tracks to see if they say anything fascinating.

Overall, the extras do add to the value of this movie. It would have been nice to see something that was updated, as a reflection on the six and a half years since its release, and just about six years since winning the Oscars for best actor and best supporting actor. It's also unfortunate that the score was not available as an isolated soundtrack. Since there is no BD-Live section on the disc, we'll have to wait for a future release to fill in those gaps.

Other Aspects

This disc is BD-MV formatted, and as such, our PlayStation 3 was able to support auto-resuming the movie, even after the disc is ejected. Most current Blu-ray players will be able to do so as well, as did the Oppo BD-83 that we had in for review. Resuming playback is one of the biggest usability problems with the Blu-ray format that studios need to recognize and support, so it's good to see more studios making this possible, either through the format they use (BDMV) or through programming (BD-J). Bookmarking is not supported.


Mystic River is a thoughtful drama that digs into the impact that a single event in childhood can have on people throughout their entire lives. What would have happened if one of the other boys had gotten into that car? It also demonstrates how the lives of the neighborhood residents are intertwined. One could also extend into parallels of this story with Shakespearean tragedy, where the actions of one person can come around and affect them and their families later in life.

In my mind, what distinguishes a movie from being a simple rental into being a purchase recommendation is the potential for repeat viewings and the substance of the extras provided in the package. The irony of this movie is that it has such an impact, that one probably won't need repeat viewings to still recall certain scenes well into the future. The extras, while dated, do provide enough additional value for the movie that I think a purchase is not out of the question. This movie is like a good book that you may not read often, but you may want to revisit once in a while, and is good to lend to others that show an interest.

Recommended Reading

Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the disc.


Check Prices on Amazon.com

A copy of this title was provided at no cost by the movie studio/distributor for the purpose of this review. No expectation of the results of this review were set as a condition of receiving the item.

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