starring Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden and Laura Linney
written by Brian Helgeland
directed by Clint Eastwood
Based on the book by Dennis Lehane, Boston Irish hoods in a blue-color neighborhood turn on themselves in a typical Greek tragedy. Sean Penn is good at portraying this kind of character - the Boston or New York Irish hoodlum with a prison record, marginally involved in what remains of the old Irish mafia. There is lots of Roman Catholicism, lots of alcohol, and lots of greasy hair and tobacco. I call it a Greek tragedy because in the end Penn kills one of his childhood friends (Tim Robbins) from the neighborhood, wrongly thinking that he murdered his 19-year-old daughter.
A third childhood friend, Kevin Bacon, is the one member of his small street gang who made good in the world. He escaped the old neighborhood and became a MassachusettsState policeman. This role sets him to confront his old friends over the matter of murder, completing the Greek tragedy formula.
This is a good film and another strong directorial effort by Clint Eastwood. I’m not sure that it deserves all the Academy Award hoopla that it received a few months ago, though.