Mystic River (2003)
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Written by: Brian Helgeland
Based on: Mystic River (2001) by Dennis Lehane
Why it’s better: Dennis Lehane is an excellent storyteller, which is why he’s so often adapted. But his stories tend to play better onscreen than in print, and Mystic River is the most notable example: The film’s powerful performances (led by Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon) add a level of depth and emotional resonance lacking in the novel.