Film Review & Trailer: Stillwater

Review By Frances Winston

Directed by: Tom McCarthy – Starring: Matt Damon, Camille Cottin, Abigail Breslin

In cinemas now!

Amanda Knox is not happy about this movie. This isn’t me speculating. She recently wrote a very long thread on Twitter deriding it. And I don’t blame her, since director and co-writer, McCarthy, has admitted that it was based on her story. I’m going to assume that you haven’t been living under a rock and are already aware of her history, rather than regurgitate it here. And if you’re not, the film’s plot will probably remind you.

Damon plays an Oklahoma-based oil worker called Bill, whose daughter Allison (Breslin) is in jail in Marseille in France. She has been convicted of killing her roommate, while she was there studying. Allison protests her innocence, and believes she has new evidence that will lead authorities to the real killer.

When they refuse to help, Bill decides to remain in the area to investigate it himself. While there, he grows close to Virginie (Cottin) and her daughter, and builds a nice little life for himself. But Allison’s quest for freedom will come at a heavy price for him and those he has come to love.

McCarthy has said that the intention here was to show the effect of a case like this on those around the accused. Even if you weren’t aware of the inspiration, it is impossible not to draw comparisons with the Knox case, and it all feels a bit uncomfortable.

Damon never truly seems to settle in the role, and I found myself thinking that his BFF, Ben Affleck, actually would have been far better in the part. Cottin is good as his love interest, but their relationship all feels rather contrived and unbelievable. Meanwhile, Breslin plays Allison with one tone – anger. No layers. Just anger.

This is the sort of film that feels like they came up with the idea without considering how to properly execute it. At over two hours long, it outstays its welcome. It feels like there’s a lot of padding, and it really drags its premise out.

It has some nice moments, but frequently loses its way, and gets caught up in its own worthiness. There is a twist in the story that you see coming a mile away, and really the only surprising thing here is that the studio didn’t ask them to cut it by about 30 minutes.

See trailer below:

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