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Directed by Clint Eastwood, Mystic River is a masterpiece exploring diverse elements both social and personal among them decision-making. Running from Dave’s abduction through killing of Katie to the eventual death of Dave, Mystic River’s informative aspect takes precedence over the entertainment one. In many aspects, this movie acts as a cautionary tale; a warning about what may happen when people, driven mainly by emotion act too quickly and too harshly based on inferences that may not be reliable.
The main characters in this movie believe that Dave killed Katie even though their inferences are unreliable. Powers believes Dave killed Katie because he was the last person to see her alive. This is illogical and unfounded argument. Again, the fact that Dave has injured his hand makes almost everyone believe he injured it in the incidence that left Katie dead.
Celeste Boyle, Dave’s wife thinks that Dave killed Katie because of his unusual behavior and the fact that he lied he injured his hand in the garbage disposal whilst she knows well he got involved in a fight, which left someone dead. She thinks that this dead person is Katie in-spite of Dave telling her that he killed a mugger. Jimmy on his part believes Celeste’s side of the story and holds that Dave killed Katie.
Nevertheless, even though these accusations leveled against Dave are inconclusive and incompetent because no one can explicitly implicate Dave in Katie’s killing, all his accusers hold fast on to what they “think” is true. Jimmy finally kills Dave for he strongly believes that he killed his daughter and this is what may happen when people make decisions based on emotions without reliable inferences.
Decisions made on basis of fear and suspicion may turn tragic; something Celeste has to learn from her behavior. She has her own fears all along; however, Dave’s strange behavior is so scaring that she confesses to Jimmy that she suspects Dave killed Katie. She says, “He’s been acting kind of nuts lately.
I am almost afraid of him” (Eastwood). Firstly, Dave admits to Celeste that he swung at a mugger only to change the version of the story by telling his friends and investigators that he injured his hand at the garbage disposal. This unusual behavior drives Celeste to tell Jimmy that she thinks Dave is responsible for Katie’s murder. However, the mere suspicions surrounding this decision to implicate Dave in the killing are inconsequential.
Jimmy makes decisions under emotions, something that leads to death of innocent Dave. After Celeste confesses to him that, she thinks Dave killed Katie, Jimmy starts looking for ways to find the truth in those accusations and settle scores by confronting Dave.
Fortunately, he does not wait for long for he manages to get Dave drunk and forces him to admit killing Katie. Dave makes it clear that he did not kill Katie; however, Jimmy, driven by emotions, cannot take any excuses and he forces Dave to admit that he killed Katie. Out of fear, Dave admits killing Katie after which Jimmy stabs and shots him dead.
At this point, the cautionary aspect of this movie comes out clearly, because Dave dies out of misinformed emotional decision-making based on rumors. If only Jimmy had taken his time to investigate the matter conclusively, or better still, leave the matter to detectives, Dave would be alive. Nevertheless, more people will die in hands of emotional people like Jimmy if people will continue making decisions based on hearsays that arouse their emotions and act illogically.
To discredit the inconclusive immature nature of decision-making, the police carry out determinate investigations and find credible facts that exonerate Dave from the accusations leveled against him.
The police apprehend Brendan’s brother and his friend as they are about to shoot Brendan and after questioning them, they confess of killing Katie. This information is credible because Brendan’s brother and his friend killed Katie for she wanted to marry Brendan; this version of the story gives a reason for the killing as opposed to Dave’s case where fear drove him to admit killing Katie.
The consequences of emotional and uninformed decisions are long lasting. Jimmy’s actions are permanent in that Celeste remains a widow for the rest of her life and she has to live with a heartsick son, Michael. These actions affect people surrounding Jimmy viz. Celeste, her son Michael, Sean, and Annabeth, Jimmy’s wife, for she knows Jimmy is a murderer.
The film Mystic River educates and entertains at the same time. It echoes the fact that decisions made on basis of fears, hearsays, and suspicions driven by emotions are dangerous. The film warns people that the outcome of such decisions is dangerous, fatal and may have long-lasting repercussions, affecting both the decision maker and the people surrounding him or her.
Powers, Jimmy, and Celeste assume that Dave killed Katie for he was the last known person to see her alive and he has injured his hand. The repercussions of these assumptions are long lasting as Dave dies innocently; Celeste has to live as a widow with a heartsick son; Jimmy lives under fear trying to evade Sean and he has to deal with his distraught wife who knows he is a murderer.
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Eastwood, Clint. “Mystic River.” Warner Bros. Pictures, 2003.