Many novels have been enjoyed by many book readers as they contain interesting story that made book fanatics keep on reading the succeeding books. There are even books that were adapted by film producers so to provide enjoyment to moviegoers. Similarities of the story between the book and the film are comparable enough to distinguish by its readers and watchers. However, even if the film version was successfully produced and adapted what is on the book version, there may still have some contrasting scenes and parts between the two versions that can be distinguish by critics. This will respond to the issue about the question of superiority of one version to the other. Mystic River, a book written by Dennis Lehane is one of his bestselling novels that was published in January 2001, inspired many readers that made it to become one of the bookseller’s top selling lists. With its success, Clint Eastwood made an interesting idea to purchase the story and produce it as a film version. In this writing, we argue that, despite the similarities these two versions, Clint Eastwood’s film was crafted in a way that viewers may be able to enjoy the movie, which made some scenes contrasted with the book, thus making it better and superior than the other.
Mystic River Film and Book Version
The film version of this novel was a mighty creation as it was able to depict the main subject of the story: the river itself. The movie portrayed the significance of the novel’s title. As the word “mystic” has many connotations and as a symbolic object, water was combined along with the mystic’s connotations, which made the viewers more interesting to the film version. Using a title that will not directly describe the story adds more twists to the novel. The book version of this novel, however, made the similar craft as to how the story can be portrayed. The story started in a way that main characters were introduced in a remarkable way. The initial part of the story contains scenes that embraced the idea of a well-bonded friendship between the characters, which where the story started. The friendships between the three boys were both portrayed in the book as well as in the film version, thus making both of them similar in terms of depicting the foundation of the story.
On the other hand, the film version provided a different experience as opposed to reading the book. The movie had a grave music background that provides an intense feeling for the viewer. In contrast with the book, the reader would need to focus more on the story line to feel how the story goes as the tragic scenes were portrayed (nytimes.com).
The somber music that was in the film, along with the visual effects such as the flickering shadows created an atmosphere of possible danger that arrives as the dark sedan stopped and drives away having Dave inside. As contrasted with the book, this scene provided a more intense action between the characters without having the need of reading descriptive lines in the book. The book, however, was written in an artistic way wherein avid readers will enjoy reading the story line by line as the author used broader yet easy to understand terminologies. These film characteristics made its version a more superior than the book version.
As for being comparable, both the book and the film version gave a traumatic event in the characters’ lives, which is an incurable experience. The film as well as the book was able to show that violence can create more violent outcome and the violation towards the mind of an innocent child may never be corrected no matter what. This claim about the similarity of the two versions were also shown in the scene wherein Dave was abducted, showing inexplicable act (nytimes.com). This scene was portrayed in both film and book versions as the story of grief, guilt and vengeance grew from the darkness as the story keeps going.
Another difference that was obvious between the book and the film is the Sean Devine’s character. The movie portrayed Sean as less fleshed out character as opposed to what the book depicts. The book version, however, can portray more of this character as it does not have the need to show the visual scene of the story. However, the Clint Eastwood’s film version may have a better depiction of Sean’s character without having the need of showing too much exposure.
Peter Travers of rollingstone.com claims that Clint Eastwood did his best as far as his directing talent is concern. Even if he did show up his face in the movie, Eastwood’s talent, as what have shown in some of his creations, were obvious in the film version of Mystic River (rollingstone.com). Every scene in this movie shows how the each frame has been crafted and directed into perfection. Additionally, murder scenes in the film may not be one of the Hollywood clichés as it let viewers dig deeper into the story. As an adaptation from the book, both versions showed an extra ordinary way of creating a storyline. As the similar murder story for both versions, Dennis Lehane was able to lay the story out of his writing as obviously it became one of the bestselling books of 2011 (rollingstone.com).
Despite the common winning side of both versions, the film created by Clint Eastwood may still dominate in terms of superiority as the film was able to achieve unexpected awards after it was released in 2011. The movie version received the Best Film for that year, which was awarded by National Board of Review as well as being AFI’s one of the top ten movies of the year (tcm.com). Aside from the fact that the movie was able to watch by more people than those who read the book, the film version is directed by not just an ordinary director who won the Best Director award for the year 2003 that was given by National Society of Film Critics (tcm.com).
There may have some claims that the film version of the Mystic River is more superior to the book version. Because of the similarities and differences between the two versions, a concluding argument may favor the film version in terms of superiority. However, we may look at the other side of the book as it can also claim its superiority over the other. As written by a very talented and bestselling author, Dennis Lehane, the book version has its own depictive representation of the original story that was crafted out of his original idea. A reader might argue that reading the book will let them experience the true story without any visual effects added and without any somber background music.
In addition, a reader might claim that the superiority must be in the book version as some readers wanted to read the novel prior watching its film version so as to give comparison and see how the film turned out after adapting the book’s story. This can be true especially for book collectors who give more of their credit to a good piece of writing that made their imaginations play as they read along. Moreover, there is still no movie that was adapted by a book. The book version of any movie will garner most of the critiques prior producing its film version, so once the film version is in production, the movie producer along with his director and staff will be able to craft a better story version as they already know what the critique might have to say.
In line with this case, a reader might also argue that the book still dominates in terms of superiority as they may think that the original version is still the best and the film version is just a copy or a visualization of the story that they have red.
On the other hand, not all the people are into reading books. There are many people who know about the book, but do not spend time reading it. These types of people are the ones who wait for the film version of the movie and gave a big contribution on the film’s success. As for the film version of Mystic River, superiority may still be on this version. Without the reiteration of the awards it received, it was a clear evidence of the success of the adaptation from book version to film.
There is no doubt that Clint Eastwood is one of the best directors of all time. He was able to turn a simple idea into an interesting piece of creation. In his film Mystic River he was able to prove that his talent is not just an ordinary one, making his creations dominate the movie world, thus making the adaptation better in terms of story plotting. On the other hand, the book version of this story is an example of an author’s success as it was reborn in the form of film so as more people will be able to enjoy it. Along with the researched information, the film version is the superior as the film provides visual art that portrays the director and casts’ talents in playing their own roles in the movie.
Denby, David. "Dead Reckoning : The New Yorker." The New Yorker. Conde Nast, 13 Oct. 2013. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
"Mystic River (2003) - Notes - TCM.com." Turner Classic Movies. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
Scott, A O. "Movie Review - Mystic River - FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW; Dark Parable of Violence Avenged - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. The New York Times Company, 3 Oct. 2003. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
Travers, Peter. "Mystic River | Movie Reviews." Rolling Stone. N.p., 25 Sept. 2003. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.