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Old 10-19-2003, 05:18 AM
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Mystic River Discussion (spoilers)

Good movie. I didn't really get the ending though.

What the hell is with Sean Penn's wife's speech at the end? Why does Sean not seem to feel remorse over killing Tim Robbins, and what's with his wife's weird megolamaniacal bent?

We see that Katie's Boyfriend (Brendan?) finds out that Deaf Brother took the gun. What was he talking about when he kept saying "I know you can talk?" Apparently he can't, because we never see him talk.

Tim Robbins got old.
Old 10-19-2003, 06:55 AM
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My take on the wife's speech was that she is specifically boostering Penn's ego so as not to let him get debilitated by his remorse over killing his friend. She points out to him that he has two other daughters who need and rely on him and that the way she calmed them down was by letting them know their father would DO ANYTHING to protect them (even, I'm sure she doesn't bother to mention to them, if he is mistaken in his "anything") and therefore in a way what he did was a good thing. She doesn't come right out and say it was a good thing he killed Dave, but certainly that he is willing to take even drastic actions to protect his family is presented to Penn as a very positive attribute that he shouldn't feel sorry for. I seem to remember Penn's face looking a bit less troubled and distant after she says this and he hugs her.

As far as the deaf brother talking, I'm going to assume he can talk if he really wants to and the brother knows this, but for whatever reason the part with him actually saying something ended up on the cutting room floor. Perhaps it was his voice in the 911 call, and Eastwood decided later not to use that detail as it wasn't really needed (or something). Bottom line, it didn't really matter if he could talk or not (at least in the final version of the movie), so I'm not going to worry over why Brendan yelled that at him.
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Old 10-19-2003, 08:12 AM
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I think Tim Robbins' aged, ragged look was sort of part of his shambling, Sad Sack act.

Sean did feel remorse for killing the wrong guy, and his wife's Lady Macbeth routine was indeed to lift his spirits but also to encourage him to take strength from his act, and rule all he surveys (his extended family, his neighborhood etc.)

If you read Dennis Lehane's most excellent book, you'll get more insight into the characters' childhoods and motivations, but really, Eastwood (and adapter Brian Helgelund) did a fine job bringing the novel to the screen.
Old 10-19-2003, 01:34 PM
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Re: Mystic River Discussion (spoilers)

Quote:
Originally posted by friedo
Good movie. I didn't really get the ending though.

What the hell is with Sean Penn's wife's speech at the end? Why does Sean not seem to feel remorse over killing Tim Robbins, and what's with his wife's weird megolamaniacal bent?

We see that Katie's Boyfriend (Brendan?) finds out that Deaf Brother took the gun. What was he talking about when he kept saying "I know you can talk?" Apparently he can't, because we never see him talk.

Tim Robbins got old.
I agree 100% with richardb on Annabeth's speech. He pretty much said it all.

As far as the brother talking, my take was that many deaf people can talk, but many who can choose not to (ala Children of a Lesser God). He certainly wouldn't have been the one to make the 911 call (how could he have heard the question about the name?) and it was the friend on the line.

I thought it was a good movie, but had a few too many "Hollywood" conventions for my taste (swooping crane shots, swelling music, other minor details here and there) which didn't make me like it less, but tempered my enthusiasm. The acting though, was brilliant. Sean Penn and Tim Robbins should both be nominated for Oscars, and Penn might finally get the one he's deserved for a couple of decades.

It made me want to read the book now. It's a shame that far too often, I don't get around to reading a book until after the movie is out ("Seabiscuit" is another recent one) but I suppose, better late than never. I always end up liking the book better anyway.


The worst thing about the movie was those horrible reddish "anti-piracy" dots that took me right out of the movie. ARGH! More people should be complaining about that. The studios are ruining film prints on purpose!
Old 10-19-2003, 06:29 PM
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What are reddish "anti-piracy" dots?

The film should have ended when Jimmy (Sean Penn) says: "The last time I saw Dave was when he went up this road in the back of that car."

Everything after was superfluous. The sub-plot with Sean's (Kevin Beacon) silent wife should also have been excised. Added nothing.

But really, what are these reddish "anti-piracy" dots you're seeing?
Old 10-20-2003, 03:36 AM
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There were several things about the film that bothered me, and I'd love to hear anyone's perspective on any of them.

1) The film seems to suggest that all the trouble was caused by Dave's abduction, but clearly the boys are already headed in their separate ways before that happens (Jimmy suggests taking a car, Sean says his dad would kill him if they did, Dave is the wimpy one). Huh?
2) Annabeth's speech comes out of nowhere. Sure she was making sure that Jimmy's concience wouldn't mess up the family, but there's nothing anywhere before that in the film that gives a hint she's like that. Isn't that what foreshadowing is for?
3) What was the point of the sub-plot about Sean's missing wife? I'm right with you, randwill, I didn't get it. I have to assume it has some deep meaning because Clint kept it in, but the meaning didn't make it over to me.
4) Was Dave abusing his/some kid, or was he so confused that he didn't know what he was saying? Was he just referring to his previous self as "kid"? Were we supposed to feel that his death was justified or in some way better than him staying alive?

Thank you for your comments.

There was lots of good stuff in the film, also--camera work, acting and so forth, but the questions are making me nutz.
Old 10-20-2003, 07:47 AM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by NoCoolUserName


1) The film seems to suggest that all the trouble was caused by Dave's abduction, but clearly the boys are already headed in their separate ways before that happens (Jimmy suggests taking a car, Sean says his dad would kill him if they did, Dave is the wimpy one). Huh?


They did indeed end up going their separate ways, but the separation might well have been encouraged by Dave's abduction. Sometimes events like that can tear friendships apart rather than bring them together. Regardless, they were all affected by what happened to Dave--but Dave was obviously left permanently warped.

2) Annabeth's speech comes out of nowhere. Sure she was making sure that Jimmy's concience wouldn't mess up the family, but there's nothing anywhere before that in the film that gives a hint she's like that. Isn't that what foreshadowing is for?


I understand your confusion; having read the book, her speech did not come so out of left field for me. Remember Annabeth's blustering father in the beginning of the movie,at the wake? Remember Annabeth's brothers, the Savages? The name Savage about covers it. This is not a nicey-nice family that Jimmy has married into.

3) What was the point of the sub-plot about Sean's missing wife? I'm right with you, randwill, I didn't get it. I have to assume it has some deep meaning because Clint kept it in, but the meaning didn't make it over to me.


The way I read this situation was as one of disassociation, alienation.

4) Was Dave abusing his/some kid, or was he so confused that he didn't know what he was saying? Was he just referring to his previous self as "kid"? Were we supposed to feel that his death was justified or in some way better than him staying alive?


Yes, he was referring to himself as the kid. And yes, I took it that it was better to die than remain his live, tortured self.

Likely some other Doper will be more articulate than I, but this, FWIW, is my take on the movie.
Old 10-20-2003, 07:55 AM
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Ah! I had no idea that Anabeth was related to the Savage Brothers. That explains a lot.
Old 10-20-2003, 11:54 AM
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Some of these things are mor elucidated by the book. They were all affected by Dave's abduction. Sean (the Kevin Bacon character, not Sean Penn) was motivated to become a cop largely by his feelings of helplessness and guilt over his inability to stop Dave's abduction. Jimmy (Penn) was already on the edge (he had an abusive father in the book) but spun out completely against authority after the abduction. Dave was obviously broken emotionally.

Caprese nailed it with Annabeth. It doesn't come across clearly enough in the movie that she is a Savage.

Kevin Bacon's wife was waiting for an apology. It's only when he finally says "I'm sorry" at the end that she finally starts talking.

The thing with "I know you can speak" was in the book too but the kid didn't speak. It was more like just a way to illustrate Brendan's enraged and irrational state of mind.


I agree that this could be the movie that finally wins an Oscar for Penn but Robbins was quite good too.
Old 10-20-2003, 01:48 PM
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I saw this, it was okay, but i thought i was ~20 mins too long. It seemed to pick points and drag drag drag. The overall story was pretty good, Robbins was terrific. I did figure out the deaf kid did it around the time we found out the brother was leaving town with the girl, which was distracting.

The best part was when Robbins got in the car with the Savages and Eastwood used the same shot of him looking back out the rear window, just like he did when he was a kid.
Old 10-21-2003, 10:08 PM
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So much of the book takes place in the characters' minds that it's hard to make things clear in a movie. If you hadn't read the book, you're confused about who The Kid is, you have no idea why Celeste is so afraid of her husband that she rats him out to Jimmy, and you don't know how truly amoral Jimmy is. So I was kind of disappointed in the movie, but I did think that Sean Penn and Tim Robbins were fantastic!
One of the niggly things that bothered me about the movie was this: the dead daughter was both shot and beaten. Yet, when her body was found, there was no sign of beating. And she looked pretty fine in the morgue and in the funeral home.
Old 10-22-2003, 04:24 PM
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Two questions:

1. Where was the movie shot in Boston? I'm pretty sure that "Buckingham Flats" and "Rome Basin" are made up, but I kept trying to orient the action based on the frequent views of the Tobin Bridge (from the end of the street where the kidnapping happens). My guess is the view is from the south and the actual location was East Boston.

2. What was the actual murder motive? Was it as Kevin Bacon paints it (initially the gun went off by accident, and then once they'd shot her once they decided to kill her so she wouldn't talk). Or was Brendan's brother trying to kill her so that Brendan wouldn't leave him to go to Las Vegas?
Old 10-22-2003, 04:25 PM
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Addendum to (1.):

Where was that park where the body was found? I didn't recognize it.
Old 10-26-2003, 10:45 AM
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I just saw this movie and I have a few comments:

1. I see a few people refer to "the deaf kid", but my impression from the movie was that he was not deaf, but mute. I seem to recall a few instances where Brendan spoke to him when they weren't facing each other, most notably when he called to him in the market when he was leaving. I thought that the younger brother couldn't speak, but could hear perfectly fine. I think this is borne out by the comment (I forget by whom) that Brendan signs to his brother even though he doesn't have to, just to make him feel less like an outsider.

2. I, too, was bothered by the speech at the end by Annabeth, however the part that bothered me most is that she seemed totally remorseless about Dave's death because she thinks that Celeste deserves to be alone, because "...who says things like that about her husband?" Creepy.

3. I was a little surprised that they put such an innocuous spin on the murder as well. I definitely came to the conclusion during Brendan's fight with Silent Ray that Ray had killed her in order to keep his brother from leaving him. When Sean said that it was all an accident, I gave a bit "Huh?"

4. The movie seemed to imply that Sean wasn't even going to investigate Dave's disappearance. I thought that this was odd.

5. I agree that the movie could have just ended with Jimmy's comment that he hadn't seen Dave since he drove off in the back of the car. I don't get the whole parade sequence.

As for the comment above about the red piracy dots...are you referring to the burn marks in the upper right hand corner that flash every 20 minutes or so? If so, those are standard in all films, they're there to let the projectionist know when a reel change is coming up.
Old 10-26-2003, 01:35 PM
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Jadis, these aren't reel-change marks, see this thread.
Old 11-17-2003, 02:57 AM
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Bumping up this thread because I finally saw this movie Saturday night.

Quote:
The movie seemed to imply that Sean wasn't even going to investigate Dave's disappearance. I thought that this was odd.
Actually, I got the opposite impression from Sean's "gotcha" gesture at Jimmy during the parade. (Not only that, there was also the matter of Jimmy's earlier murder of "Just" Ray.)

Also, I noticed no one's brought up the scene at the parade where Dave's son gives his mother, Celeste, the cold shoulder when she waves at him on the float. It seemed to me this indicated that the kid was aware that his mother mistakenly fingered his father. Did anybody else think this? Was this scene discussed in more detail in the book?
Old 11-25-2003, 10:28 PM
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I got in an argument over my sister about the gunshot gesture Sean makes at Jimmy. My sister thought it meant Sean was not going to investigate Dave's diappearance, that the fake gunshot hand sign was his punishment and that Celeste would be mollified by the $800 payments presumably forthcoming. This sounds plausible, but I agree with NDp that it's pretty ambiguous.
Old 12-25-2010, 05:18 PM
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i think that a read of the book is required to fully understand, or at least be able to consider, the final 10 minutes or so of the movie. 4 topics:

1) annabeth's speech at the end - the epilogue of the book is heavily focused in jimmy accepting that he is an evil man and that the most appropriate thing is for him to return to his life of not necessarily crime, but street justice. since there is no good way to get inside of a person's thoughts during a movie (somebody mentioned this earlier), i think eastwood felt that this was perhaps the best way to reflect that turn. his wife was telling him that he owns this town and that he needs to do what he needs to do, plain and simple. totally bizarre behavior, i agree...but i think it feeds very well into this alternative "boston" universe that they try to create with jimmy and his followers. there is also a suggestion in the book that celeste had had a thing for jimmy - certainly acknowledged by him, probably suspected by annabeth as well.
2) sean's wife - somebody mentioned this also, that she was waiting for an apology. i actually think bacon did a pretty decent job in this movie (for him), but it was a difficult thing for him to reflect what that character was supposedly going through in limited screen and devoted story time. she had had an affair and the father of the baby was in question. the whole movie involved him on a low level debating whether he had been in the wrong in driving her away or if she was in the wrong...and on a high level, debating whether his occupation had driven him to become that very type of man who would be in that situation. in that sense, such a gut-wrenching case put him through a variety of emotions.
3) sean/jimmy - in the book, sean is...how do i put this...subtly enraged at jimmy. he curses him and tells him he'll prove dave's murder, jimmy basically challenges him to give it a shot. at the parade, the fake gunshot again bears an intended meaning and jimmy smiles back in a mocking fashion. they've both been revitalized, sean in his ambition for good and jimmy in his love of being bad, simply put. i felt that eastwood chose to go in a different direction with these two at the end - sean certainly seemed to be disappointed but condoned jimmy's action to a certain extent; he was overwhelmed by the course of events and simply wanted his life back (that being his wife/the baby; perhaps even having jimmy to look up to). jimmy seems to smile back in appreciation, as if they can both be thankful for their return to normalcy. we lose dave, but this is as close to right that our own worlds have been in some time. while their harmony seems to break in one version and strengthen in another, the end effect is almost the same - they're simply revitalized and no longer broken down by the world's flaws.
4) celeste and michael - i don't necessarily agree to the extent that he knew she had done something to wrong the father. i do think that it was symbolic of his destiny as dave's son being fulfilled - he was also now lost and alone and without strength, much like the way his father's life had played out. as for celeste, certainly her entire life had crumbled more quickly than she ever could have imagined.
Old 01-07-2012, 03:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Paprika View Post
I got in an argument over my sister about the gunshot gesture Sean makes at Jimmy. My sister thought it meant Sean was not going to investigate Dave's diappearance, that the fake gunshot hand sign was his punishment and that Celeste would be mollified by the $800 payments presumably forthcoming. This sounds plausible, but I agree with NDp that it's pretty ambiguous.
The character sean said $500, not $800. Anyways, he said "are you gonna send celeste boyle $500 a month too?" Apparently sean knows jimmy killed just ray also, and sent that family money every month, and hasn't done anything. So I don't think he will start now. I agree with your sister, I don't think the gun gesture was anything threatening. But I've seen people who read the book say it was more than that. Anyway, I just finished the movie and thought I would google what people thought about the ending. And that's just my take..
Old 09-15-2013, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
Some of these things are mor elucidated by the book. They were all affected by Dave's abduction. Sean (the Kevin Bacon character, not Sean Penn) was motivated to become a cop largely by his feelings of helplessness and guilt over his inability to stop Dave's abduction. Jimmy (Penn) was already on the edge (he had an abusive father in the book) but spun out completely against authority after the abduction. Dave was obviously broken emotionally.

Caprese nailed it with Annabeth. It doesn't come across clearly enough in the movie that she is a Savage.
Kevin Bacon's wife was waiting for an apology. It's only when he finally says "I'm sorry" at the end that she finally starts talking.

The thing with "I know you can speak" was in the book too but the kid didn't speak. It was more like just a way to illustrate Brendan's enraged and irrational state of mind.


I agree that this could be the movie that finally wins an Oscar for Penn but Robbins was quite good too.
It was pretty clear. In one of the scenes one of the Savage Brothers said Katie was their niece
Old 09-15-2013, 11:00 PM
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Great movie with great acting.

And just for clarification purposes, because it seems there is some confusion here as to whether or not Katie was killed by accident, if it were an accident the mute brother would not have had his father's gun with him. I think Katie was murdered to either avenge the Just Ray's death or to stop the brother from going to Vegas.

Btw, if anyone knows of similar crime movies with twists as such please feel free to make some suggestions
Old 09-17-2013, 03:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randwill View Post
The film should have ended when Jimmy (Sean Penn) says: "The last time I saw Dave was when he went up this road in the back of that car."
To me, the film should have ended when it became so obvious that Penn was doing a Robert DeNiro imitation throughout the whole movie.

Last edited by handsomeharry; 09-17-2013 at 03:23 AM.
Old 07-01-2014, 06:07 PM
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Lady MacBeth

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcook07 View Post
i think that a read of the book is required to fully understand, or at least be able to consider, the final 10 minutes or so of the movie.

1) annabeth's speech at the end - the epilogue of the book is heavily focused in jimmy accepting that he is an evil man and that the most appropriate thing is for him to return to his life of not necessarily crime, but street justice. since there is no good way to get inside of a person's thoughts during a movie (somebody mentioned this earlier), i think eastwood felt that this was perhaps the best way to reflect that turn. his wife was telling him that he owns this town and that he needs to do what he needs to do, plain and simple. totally bizarre behavior, i agree...but i think it feeds very well into this alternative "boston" universe that they try to create with jimmy and his followers. there is also a suggestion in the book that celeste had had a thing for jimmy - certainly acknowledged by him, probably suspected by annabeth as well.
I didn't read the book, but to me this speech near the ending of the movie was far more insidious than what is shown. The "prank" which killed the girl seemed rather lame, right?

Let me review a few plot points.

First, Annabeth is Jimmy's second wife, yes? His first wife died of cancer and Katie is the only daughter from this marriage. Annabeth is a Savage and her gangster brothers view Katie as a niece but they are not blood relatives.

Second, Jimmy seems to favor Katie among his daughters. And for her, he quit
the action to be a lowly store clerk. However, the Savages proudly continue to work the neighborhood.

Third, in a very unexpected speech, Annabeth tells her daughters that their daddy is a king, and a king knows what to do and does it. This directly plays into the Lady MacBeth idea.

It is this speech which got me thinking. What if Annabeth is secretly jealous of the former wife and by relation, the surviving daughter Katie whom is favored? What if Annabeth wants her husband to return to the action and join the Savages on the street? She says directly in that speech everyone is weak but us. She says you could rule this town.

But, so long as Katie is alive, Jimmy is a lion with no claws. He is no king.

What if Annabeth orchestrated this murder? What if she overheard a phone conversation or something about Katie running away to Las Vegas with Brendan? And what if she knew Brendan's mute brother would be abandoned to a mother who didn't seem to care much for him? What if she was the one who duped the mute into killing Katie to stop Brendan from going to Vegas?

Think about that plot twist. I think it is far better and makes a lot more sense than some lame prank gone wrong. It is far more fitting of Lady MacBeth. And the complete coincidence of Dave killing a pedophile on the same night could have unraveled this insidious plot if only Jimmy were patient enough (or Sean fast enough) to dig a little deeper. Those are their character flaws. Jimmy is shown to exact swift revenge and Sean is slow and plodding with both an apology to his wife and picking up on Dave as a possible murder suspect.

However, there is big one problem. The boys confessed to the crime but did not implicate Annabeth. Why not? It's too bad the mute was not choked to death in that scene with his brother who demanded he speak Katie's name. It would have been awesome if he garbled Annabeth's name but the brother did not understand. The friend who picked up the gun could have been helping the mute without ever knowing who orchestrated the murder.

An ending like this would be far more Shakespearean!
Old 08-05-2014, 01:37 PM
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Merci !

Dear Whiskjohn!
First of all, I'm french so please apologize my poor english! I've seen this movie yesterday, and I was SURE it was Sean Penn's wife! Indeed, the speech at the end is so suspicious; why Eastwood had chosen Annabeth for the very last monologue? As some internauts said in previous posts, the movie should have ended when Jimmy says "The last time I've seen Dave it was in a car…..." Indeed, it should be a great end, BUT it's not the end, and this monologue isn't superficial, because it's the very proof of the Annabeth's guilt! Moreover, while the band is playing in the street, we can see the Dave's wife who is looking at Annabeth in a very strange way; Like if she was understanding something. Women have a huge (but "minor") importance in this movie; quickly, the Sean's wife who creates a plot by her own, without any words, Dave's wife who "condemn" her husband, and Katie who's killed and which creates a red string in the all movie; The only one who isn't brought to light, it's Annabeth, so she's a mystery, and she doesn't appear as a potential guilty! So all this for thank you, because everybody thought I was mad when I told them it was Annabeth, and at last I've found someone who think the same, so MERCI!
Old 08-05-2014, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by richardb View Post
She doesn't come right out and say it was a good thing he killed Dave, but certainly that he is willing to take even drastic actions to protect his family is presented to Penn as a very positive attribute that he shouldn't feel sorry for. I seem to remember Penn's face looking a bit less troubled and distant after she says this and he hugs her.
In fact she places some of the blame on Dave's wife referring to the fact that she wouldn't even stick up for her own husband. What kind of a wife does that unless even she thought her husband did it?
Old 04-26-2017, 11:20 PM
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Good vs Evil

Isn't it interesting that when the boy entered the car, the man in he passenger seat resembled a priest and had a large cross on his ring? Isn't it interesting that Penn had a a huge cross tattooed down the back of his neck? Isn't it interesting that the loss of Katie's life was broken to Penn and family almost simultaneously with the religious communion of another family member? How about the $500 paid every month by Penn to a family for which was hurt by Penn? The speech made by Penn's wife was a justification for the dirty deeds committed.

Penn represents evil, the church, the abuse of children
Bacon represents good, the police, the protector of truth

And yet no truth has been protected here, it only comes as close as an air gun cocked and pointed at evil. But nothing will ever amass from this.

Take it how you want but this looks like a clear representation of the cover-ups, injustices, and the church's lazy efforts to fix what they have done. But hey, everyone's happy in the end, except for the innocent, who are left either lonely, sad, or dead.
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