Mystic River | 2003
Clint Eastwood directs a story by Dorchester’s Dennis Lehane, from a screenplay by Brian Helgeland,who wrote LA Confidential. Set in the fictitious blue-collar Boston neighbourhood of ‘East Buckingham’, based on a conflation of suburbs Charlestown, Southie, Brighton, and Dorchester itself, the film stays true to the novel’s Beantown setting, with filming also around nearby Mattapan, Jamaica Plain and Brighton. Studio sets were built in a warehouse in Canton, just to the south.
The three young pals are playing street hockey on Condor Street, at Meridian Street in Chelsea, East Boston (just north of Logan International Airport), when young Dave is abducted by fake cops. And don’t go searching for that lost ball – the drain down which it disappears was just added for the film.
Sean and Jimmy wistfully wave to the traumatised Dave as he’s eventually returned to his home at 40 Falcon Street, a block south of Condor Street.
In the background of the hockey scene you can see the enormous Tobin Bridge, linking Chelsea to Charlestown across the Mystic River, which is where the grown-up Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon), now a cop, and his partner Whitey Powers (Laurence Fishburne) attend the road rage incident.
Skipping forward into the present, the home of the adult Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn) is a few blocks east from Dave’s childhood home, at 111 Falcon Street.
‘Cottage Market’, Jimmy’s grocery store, is Miller’s Market, 336 K Street at East 7th Street, down in South Boston (not far from the L Street Tavern, famous from Good Will Hunting).
Further south still, in Jamaica Plain, you’ll find ‘McGill's’, the tavern where Dave (Tim Robbins) sees Jimmy’s daughter, Katie, dancing on the bartop. It’s actually Doyle’s Braddock Cafe, 3484 Washington Street. You can see it on-screen again in gambling drama 21, with Jim Sturgess and Kevin Spacey, and in William Friedkin’s 1978 caper movie The Brink’s Job.
The day after being seen in the bar, Jimmy’s daughter is missing, and an abandoned car is discovered a few block to the east, on Glen Road at Glade Avenue.
Not far away, Katie's body is found in the Bear Dens in Long Crouch Woods (they' were actually built to house bears, but were never used), near the Seaver Street entrance to Franklin Park.
Still haunted by the past, Dave has moved across the river to Charlestown, where he lives with his wife Celeste (Marcia Gay Harden) at 127 High Street. It’s here, as he walks his son to school, that Dave is visited by Sean following up the murder enquiry.
The property has been given a smart makeover since filming.
Jimmy’s pals, the Savage brothers, tip him off about Dave being questioned as he picks out a gravestone for his daughter at Wellsmere Monumental Works, 3841 Washington Street in Roslindale.
One of the locations you can’t see is the ‘Black Emerald Bar’, where the brothers take Dave and get him drunk ready for the final confrontation with Jimmy. It was built from scratch on an empty industrial lot at the Mystic River water’s edge on Border Street opposite Decatur Street, just to the south of the childhood neighbourhood.