Monday, October 13, 2014

Mystic River

In Mystic River, the idea of a cross was brought up a lot. Jimmy, of the three main characters, had the most crosses with him in the shots. He always had another obstacle to overcome, something to crucify him. At the end of the film, he is shown with a Celtic cross on his back. The way he is framed suggests that he is alone and struggling a lot with what he's done. He has just killed his friend. By keeping the shot asymmetrical and having him be in darkness, this shot shows how much Jimmy is upset about what he has done and how he is suffering. In the shadows, with a cross on his back. He has a cross to bear, and that is the murder of someone who, as it turned out, was innocent. Before that, there is a shot of him walking down the street, arms outstretched. Jimmy is once again being crucified in this imagery. This shot is different, however, because it is a symmetrical design. This reinforces the feeling of parallelism. On this same street, Dave dies the first time when the molesters take him away. On this street, Jimmy is tortured with the guilt of killing Dave a second time. Jimmy is dying himself in a way, because he has killed a man for something he didn't really do. In the Crucifixion in the Bible, Jesus died to bring peace and forgiveness to everyone. Jimmy is being crucified because he brought Dave the peace that only death could bring. In this film, everybody had their crosses to bear. Jimmy's was one of the heaviest.

Dave also had a lot of pain in his life. In his childhood, he was kidnapped by a pair of men pretending to be police officers and molested. The shot of one of them leaning around the seat and putting his hand up, revealing a ring with a cross on it, has a lot of significance. Not only does it represents what Dave is about to go through, something that will scar him for his entire life, but it also the perversion of something pure, like the church, which also signifies what he is going to go through. The shot is sort of a dramatic contrast between the ring, which should mean something good, and the fake officer, who is anything but. Towards the end of the movie, the two Savage brothers take Dave to the bar in much the same way he was taken from his friends when he was a kid. This parallel editing shows how something bad is going to happen to Dave, because when he was taken like that the first time, it did not go very well for him. Once they are in the bar, Dave seems boxed in, surrounded by people who are supposed to be his friends but who can't quite reach him. The shot has a lot of density and texture, making the viewer feel as heavy and intoxicated as Dave. Dave's discomfort at the bar directly translates to what happens next, which is him being betrayed by a friend and killed. Like in the car at the beginning of the movie, he dies, only instead of just his childhood dying he loses everything. Dave lost a lot in this movie, and he was on a cross from when he was just a child, suffering through it all.

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