‘Stillwater’ (2021) | Movie Review


Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin, Camille Cottin

Directed By:

Tom McCarthy

Written By:

Tom McCarthy, Thomas Bidegain, Marcus Hinchey

In ‘Stillwater, Matt Damon plays Bill Baker, an American oil-rig roughneck who travels to Marseille visiting his estranged daughter, Allison (Abigail Breslin). Allison is in prison for a murder she claims she did not commit. Confronted with language barriers, cultural differences, and a complicated legal system, Bill must build a new life for himself in France as he makes it his personal mission to exonerate his daughter.

Director Tom McCarthy has done some incredible films like ‘Spotlight’ and the underrated Adam Sandler film ‘The Cobbler’. You definitely feel a sense of his directorial style with dramatic tension building with ‘Stillwater’ that you had in ‘Spotlight’. What’s missing in ‘Stillwater’ for me lies in its secondary plot and unfocused narrative that makes ‘Stillwater’ good but not great.

First Matt Damon is a terrific actor and gives a great performance as father out of his depth but still persistent in his drive to free his daughter. Abigail Breslin also does a great job with making you care about her but also have a little mystery of her integrity when it comes to the circumstances of her crime she’s innocent of. The two have good chemistry with each other as well as Matt Damon and Camille Cottin, who plays a local woman that Bill befriends and lives with while trying to free his daughter.

The total runtime is about 2 and a half hours while there are a lot of ideas explored in that runtime, it’s a bit baggy. The plot can be streamlined more with the central plot of a father trying to save his daughter and discard a lot of the things that for me just didn’t work. Some of the “average joe” stuff can be overbearing at times, but the final act of the movie is very strong, and I left the movie feeling good about what I watched.

Overall, ‘Stillwater’ has impressive performances from both Matt Damon and Abigail Breslin, but the central themes get muddled by a lengthy runtime. I could see it being nominated for the acting on display but otherwise ‘Stillwater’ is a suspense drama that could do very well on VOD before landing on a streaming platform.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Patrick Beatty
Patrick Beatty

Patrick Beatty is a film critic and creator of PatrickBeattyReviews.com and the Gaggle of Geeks Podcast network. Watch him Friday’s on ABC4 Good Things Utah talk about movies and follow all his work in the link below.

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