Three adolescents (Jason Kelly, Connor Paolo and Cameron Bowen) in the 1975 Boston area fall to tragedy when Bowen (who grows to become Tim Robbins) is abducted by two pedophiles posing as beat cops. The event is chilling and leaves all three going down different routes of life. Kelly (who grows to become Sean Penn) became a hood, a trouble-maker who finally got his life straight after being in and out of jail as a young adult. Paolo (who ages to become Kevin Bacon) has become a police detective who is much better with his work than he is with a personal life spinning out of control (he continuously gets strange phone calls from his wife who has left him with little explanation). Soon the three childhood friends are brought back together when Penn's oldest daughter (Emmy Rossum) is found murdered near their home in a park. Simultaneously Robbins (who is not all there mentally obviously) comes home one dark and cold night covered in blood and having a rather deep cut in the middle of his gut. Wife Marcia Gay Harden is really worried about what may have occurred. Robbins tells her a story of a botched mugging and a fearsome street-fight between himself and an unknown assailant. However news of the event never hits the papers and Harden begins to wonder if Robbins may have had something to do with the gruesome murder of Rossum. While all this happens Bacon and fellow detective Laurence Fishburne are trying to solve the case. Emotions start to run high as Penn becomes suspicious of Rossum's secret boyfriend (Tom Guiry) and Robbin's bruised hand raises more questions. Guiry, who is constantly seen around the neighborhood with his younger mute brother (Spencer Tracy Clark), has always been on Penn's short list due to Guiry's father's mysterious past. And as all this transpires Penn's wife/Rossum's stepmother/Harden's cousin (Laura Linney) tries to be the rock that the entire family desperately needs while Harden herself starts to unravel emotionally. Penn, still hanging around with miscreants Kevin Chapman, Adam Nelson and Robert Wahlberg (all brothers), begins to let anger overtake his sorrow and you wonder what is really going on in his chaotic mind. "Mystic River" is probably Clint Eastwood's finest film (acting or directing). He has his finger not only on the Brian Helgeland (who also adapted "L.A. Confidential") script, but also on the landmark performances across the board. As good as everyone is, Penn (who is on another plateau from most other actors right now in his career) and Robbins are the ones who end up making you feel very cold and tense throughout. They both give their finest performances in this intimate and emotional character study. The movie never lets up its grip and then has a surprising ending that will give you chill bumps on top of chill bumps. "Mystic River" never quite reached perfection with me, but its elements are something that are truly remarkable in this day of silly explosions and stupid screenplays in motion pictures. Watch for Eli Wallach in an uncredited cameo as a liquor store owner. 4.5 out of 5 stars.