THE MOVIE: Stillwater is the focus of Matt Damon. He plays the father Bill Baker, who flies to France from the USA to visit his imprisoned daughter Allison. She is in jail for the murder of her roommate and good friend. But then rumors emerge that indicate that Allison (Abigail Breslin) is innocent.
Her father wants to reopen the case, but finds no allies in the judiciary. That’s why he wants to investigate himself and stays in Marseille longer than planned. He befriends a single mother and her daughter, with whom he also moves in. During his research, which among other things leads him to a socially disadvantaged suburb, the father gradually encounters inconsistencies and puts himself in danger.
THE REPRESENTATION: The parallels cannot be denied – much of this thriller is reminiscent of the case of Amanda Knox. Director Tom McCarthy was also approached about Knox at the Cannes Film Festival, where the work premiered in the summer. Your story was the initial inspiration for his film, but nothing more, said the Oscar winner (“Spotlight”). As the father of a daughter, he asked himself how something like that could feel.
Shortly afterwards, Amanda Knox (34) spoke up and sharply criticized the filmmakers. In several tweets and contributions, she resisted a connection to her story that would be at her expense without her consent. “Is my name mine? My face? What about my life? My story?” She asked. These questions keep coming up “because others continue to benefit from my name, face and story”.
THE REVIEW: Even without the criticism from Amanda Knox, the thriller would have gotten some attention, if only because of Matt Damon in the lead role and Oscar winner Tom McCarthy in the director’s chair. McCarthy should also be given artistic freedom to use such a public story in a film.
In fact, he tells “Stillwater” from his father’s perspective, tells of a new beginning in Marseille and of cultural differences between the USA and Europe. In doing so, he builds up his tension very slowly, takes a lot of time for seemingly incidental observations and only surprises in the last few meters with unforeseen twists and turns and the moral questions that arise.
With more than two hours, “Stillwater” turned out to be too long and over long stretches it seemed a little too solid, too conventionally told and staged. The big strength, however, is Matt Damon. With his baseball cap and slightly bent posture, he slips convincingly into the role of the average American. A simple worker and father who learns to fight for his family late in life.
(dpa / lb)