Stillwater is the 6th feature film by American director Tom McCarthy, best known for Spotlight, his investigative film recounting the writing of an article by an investigative team exposing a scandal involving pedophile priests covered by the Catholic Church in Boston area. The critically acclaimed film won the 2016 Oscar for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
With Stillwater, the director is largely inspired by another news item that hit the headlines: the Amanda Knox affair, where a young American student who was studying in Italy in 2007 was convicted of the murder of her roommate. .
The film follows a father (Matt Damon), who arrives from his Oklahoma to support his daughter (Abigail Breslin) whom he barely knows but who is serving a prison sentence in France, in Marseille, accused of a crime that ‘she denies having committed. In his fight to exonerate his daughter, he will find the help of a local resident, with whom he will befriend (Camille Cottin).
The film was screened out of competition at the Cannes and Deauville festivals.
Were you expecting an episode of Jason Bourne in Marseille? Go your way! If Stillwater is adorned with the attire of a thriller, or even a legal film in its first part, the film is however more than that.
The situation, composed by Tom McCarthy with two Frenchmen, Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré, doesn’t appear to know on which foot to move, between the thrill ride and the show, the vengeance film and the social film. This is the two its solidarity and its shortcoming: a solitary film rises up out of it, connecting the tracks and upsetting its watcher, making it conceivable to all the more likely depict the heroes and the social shock that possesses their gathering – Matt Damon as a driller of a profound America , a nearly Trumpist redneck, and Camille Cottin as a bohemian Marseille theater entertainer – yet who doesn’t extra herself a little speedy or coarse strings.
Stillwater nonetheless remains a pleasant entertainment on uprooting, difference and prejudice, served by a duo of actors who hit the mark.