‘Stillwater’ stars Matt Damon as a father struggling to free his daughter

Story owes a clear debt Amanda Knox case, Abigail Breslin plays Allison, an American schoolgirl convicted of murdering her roommate and boyfriend. Her father, Bill Baker (Damon), moves to prison from Oklahoma, where she is currently imprisoned in Marseille, pursuing a line of interrogation that could lead to her release.

Still, far from the Hitchcockian everyman who always triumphs in such situations (think Jimmy Stewart in “The Man Who Knew Too Much”), Bill has his own troubled background, including substance abuse. involved, and he is not a spy.

Unable to speak the local language, he eventually forms an affair with an actress, Virginie (Camille Coutin, most recently seen in “Call My Agent”), creating a surrogate for him and his young daughter (Lilou Siavaud). for unlikely relationships. The parental bond which he ruined to a great extent.

The film thus follows parallel tracks, with Bill establishing something of a life in Marseille, while Allison is urged to let it go, while attempting to find a way to get out.

“The last thing you want to give a daughter is false hope,” her lawyer tells her, but driven by forces within her—among them the desire to make amends—Bill can’t seem to give up the fight.

McCarthy originally drew inspiration from the Knox story, and an early draft of the script lay dormant for several years. In the interim, the world – and America’s place in it – has evolved, adding another element to the bill’s efforts.

Because McCarthy and his collaborators offer so much more indie film than studio product, “Stillwater” (Oklahoma City’s name) makes an unexpected detour, which proves to be a mixed blessing. While the film keeps the audience off balance about what really happened, and what will happen, it drags on for nearly two hours and 20 minutes, fosters impatience about what’s to come, and low satisfaction at the end. it occurs.

Credit McCarthy for making a film around a flawed protagonist and his quest for redemption, and credit Damon for completely submerging himself in a role that avoids the usual heroic clichés.

Ultimately, though, “Stillwater” runs long, but doesn’t run particularly deep—or at least, not deep enough.

“Stillwater” premieres in US theaters on July 30. Its evaluation


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