With huge similarities but allegedly not based on the story of Amanda Knox,
the American student who was convicted, and later found innocent, of
murdering her British flatmate Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007,
Stillwater, with one of the world’s biggest movie stars in Matt Damon and
the Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight 2015) directing and co-writing,
has all the ingredients of a classic Hollywood blockbuster.
Damon plays Bill Baker an American oil-rig roughneck from Oklahoma who
travels to Marseille in order to visit his estranged daughter Alison
(Abigail Breslin), who is in prison serving a nine-year sentence for
killing her French-Arab girlfriend, a crime she denies.
After Alison hears of possible new evidence that might clear her name and
with prosecutors washing their hands of the case Bill takes it upon himself
Confronted by language barriers Bill befriends a local actress called
Virginie (Camille Cottin, from the Netflix series Call My Agent), who acts
as his translator. Unsurprisingly in the midst of his investigation the
pair start to fall for each other, helped in no small part by his
friendship with Virginie’s eight-year old daughter Maya.
The story, at times, whilst enjoyable feels somewhat disjointed flirting
from being a thriller one minute to a romantic movie the next and then to a
family drama. The middle portion of the movie, and probably the most
satisfying and enjoyable part, virtually dispenses with the murder
investigation instead focusing on the relationship between Bill, Virginie
and her daughter.
If you’re going expecting an action movie then you’re going to be sorely
disappointed, McCarthy does take us down the path of Liam Neeson’s Taken
for a short spell but very quickly reverts back to focusing on the
Stillwater comes recommended just don’t go expecting to see a thriller and
you won’t be disappointed.