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Urban Planning Analysis of Eastwood's Mystic River - Article Example

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In the movie, the lived reality of the protagonists define their conception of their city, and that lived reality is an internal reality, psychological and emotional, and has little to do with the physical space that they actually inhabited…
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Urban Planning Analysis of Eastwoods Mystic River
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Urban Planning Analysis of Eastwood’s ‘Mystic River’ Table of Contents I. Introduction 3 II. Discussion 3 III. Conclusion 5 Works Cited 7 I. Introduction The psychological and emotional space that is the conception of a city by those who have lived there since childhood define the city for them, in ways that overlay and overpower traditional conceptions of cities from a theoretical and management point of view tied to such issues as technical planning and the physical configuration of the city itself. The city is an emotional and psychological space defined more by the relationships of people to particular neighborhoods and communities, more than a physical space which is merely the outward manifestation of what is in essence an inner reality. The movie ‘Mystic River’ in its various explorations of the lives of three men from birth to the tragic circumstances of their adult lives demonstrate this conception of the city. Their conception of the city is defined by the roles that they have come to occupy in the community they belong to, and in terms of their most vital relationships to people around them and to their past. In practical terms it is important to understand that dry technical planning should be tempered by a more profound understanding of the psychological and emotional dynamics that govern the lives of people living in cities (Thomson; IMDb; French). II. Discussion In the movie we see that the defining moments in the lives of the three protagonists are intimately linked with their childhood growing up in their old neighborhood in the city, and even in their adult lives their pasts continue to shape them. Relationships and the social status of the protagonists, their psychological states, the vital loves that sustain them, and their deep emotional and social ties to certain parts of the cities point to a reality that cannot be gleaned from government census records, city plans, and formal and dry biographies. The texture and quality of the movie itself attests to the focus on people, and their stories, over and above the outward manifestations of the city itself. If anything, the outside physical city seems to be transfixed in time, static in its blandness and its nondescript qualities, in comparison to the tumult that characterized the lives of the major characters. The stories that governed the lives of the people around them are also steeped in history and in remembering. The lives are convoluted and the pain and damage that they inflict on each other testify to the deep network of cause and effect that run through their lives like threads that bind them all together in a single woven tapestry. For instance, the same kids who grew up together and who endured the harsh trauma of being victimized by pedophiles would grow up estranged but still neighbors, and still entangled in each other’s trauma. Jimmy would go on to kill Dave on suspicion that the latter killed Jimmy’s daughter, and in the end it would be the brother of Katie’s boyfriend Brendan who turned up to be the killer of the young woman. The city itself is nothing in the scheme of things, except as a staging ground for the tragedy. In the midst of this psychological space and this entanglement of mutually inflicted violence and hurts, the characters live out their lives. This is their city, a psychological and emotional vortex of entanglements (Thomson; IMDb; French). City for the protagonists is something that is an internal reality, something that defines them, and something that has the quality of destiny. The city was the home of the perpetrators of the violence of their childhoods, and that violence was to shape the rest of their lives. Bound together by that defining childhood event, they would continue to be entwined in each other’s lives, if not as friends, then as neighbors who are unable to escape the pull of their old neighborhood and of their past. Both Jimmy and Dave, for instance, would end up with the fates of many others who grew up in that working class neighborhood. Dave was blue collar to the bone, and Jimmy too, an ex-con, would go back to the neighborhood to play out his part in the drama. They had long ago become estranged, and yet they continued to be physically close as neighbors. They would also remain to be related via a betrothal. The spectacular twist in the plot is that this tragedy would play out in the way it did, with Dave dying in the hands of Jimmy, even though in reality it was not Dave who killed Jimmy’s daughter. Yet viewed from the perspective of the intimate entanglement of the lives of the two, and viewed from the lens of the tragedy as something etched into the destinies of the two men, then it becomes clear just how central the vital relationships of the protagonists are to their idea of life and of their place in their communities. This lived place has very little to do with the physical aspects of their neighborhoods, and has almost all to do with the lived psychological, relational, and emotional spaces that they inhabited. There are two slants here, one of the blue collar neighborhood that engulfed and defined the protagonists being a centrifuge that limited their possibilities in life and their possibilities for moving out of the entanglements that defined life there. The other has to do with the intimate nature of the social relationships that bound the protagonists and kept them together like men chained together to the waist. The only resolution to that state of affairs, in the end, is that of one or the other killing the other. In this case, it would be Dave in the hands of Jimmy (Thomson; IMDb; French). Taking a step back, we see too that the emotional trauma that defined Dave’s adult life would have the consequence of Dave acting out in revenge over that childhood trauma, and killing a child molester. That kind of violence cannot but breed its own karma. That karma would come in the form of a relentless maelstrom of suspicion and estrangement that would keep Dave within the compass of Jimmy’s own drama and dark destiny. It is entanglement on top of other entanglements like flies trapped in a spider web that spun and spun to further entrap them all. This is their lived space and their ultimate fate (Thomson; IMDb; French). III. Conclusion In conclusion it is clear from the preceding discussion that indeed, in the movie, the lived reality of the protagonists define their conception of their city, and that lived reality is an internal reality, psychological and emotional, and has little to do with the physical space that they actually inhabited (Thomson; IMDb; French). . Works Cited French, Philip. “Take a subtle Clint…”. The Guardian. 19 October 2003. Web. 3 February 2013. IMDb. “Mystic River”. IMDB.com. 2013. Web. 3 February 2013. Thomson, David. “When is a movie great?”. Harper’s Magazine. July 2011. Read More
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