Director: Tom McCarthy
Writer: Tom McCarthy, Marcus Hinchey, Thomas Bidegain (Screenplay)
Starring: Matt Damon, Camille Cottin, Abigail Breslin, Lilou Siauvaud, Deanna Dunagan, Idir Azougli
Plot: A father travels from Oklahoma to France to help his estranged daughter, who is in prison for a murder she claims she didn’t commit.
Tagline – Secrets run deep.
Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Stillwater starts as Bill (Damon) travels to France to visit his daughter Allison (Breslin) who has been in jail for five years, for a crime she didn’t commit. Bill is looking to get the case reopened, only to find no as the answer.
Bill meets Virginie (Cottin) who offers to help Bill with the translations as he goes in search for answers himself, leading himself to get into more trouble than he could imagine in his desperation to help her get free.
Thoughts on Stillwater
Characters & Performances – Bill is a construction worker that heads over to France to see his daughter in hopes of having the case that has seen her put in prison reopened, he will do anything to help, which will see him try to investigate himself. He does mean well with what he is trying to do, but Bill does come off like an entitled American, who expects everyone to be able to speak English, or help him no matter what they are going through. Matt Damon does make us feel like this is the most American character we will see this year. Virginie is the stage actresses that offers to help Bill with the translations as the pair spend a lot of time together, with her letting Bill stay at her apartment. She is one of the few people that will help Bill, seeing him as a desperate father, more than a tourist. Camille Cottin brings the innocent character to this world, one that works in reflection to the Bill character. Allison is the daughter of Bill’s she has been in prison for five-years for a murder of her roommate, something she claims she never did, she is hoping the case could be reopened so she could get freed. She is estranged with her father over the years, not knowing why he needs to get overly involved in the case. We don’t really see much from Allison, with what she did or didn’t do.
Story – The story here follows a father who travels to France in hopes of getting his daughter released from prison, which will see him exploring the area searching for people who will help him. This is a story that is meant to be loosely connected to a real case, only for it to not go very far. Most of the film is Bill just walking around talking to someone, with none of the case being investigated, it is more about the reflection of the relationship between Bill and Allison, over the crime that is meant to be committed, which again we barely see any news on. The story does feel like it is too long as well, being over 2 hours, which could easily be trimmed down to an hour and half.
Themes – Stillwater is a thriller that is meant to be showing the fight for freedom, only it doesn’t seem to focus on getting Allison out, more the drama of learning to become accepting of waiting for the world Bill finds himself in. the film is mostly set in France, which becomes clear as Bill looks out of place for the most part.
Final Thoughts – Stillwater is an overly long thriller that doesn’t seem to get involved in bigger case of what is going on.