Meet “Bill Baker” (Matt Damon) a simple man, a recovering alcoholic, relying on a higher power to secure his sobriety; a construction worker hailing from “The Sooner State”, Oklahoma, the least likely individual to have a daughter, “Allison” (Abigail Breslin) serving prison time, for murder, in Marseille, France. “Stillwater” pulsates as a plagiarized version of the Amanda Knox (four years in an Italian penitentiary for the 2007 murder of her roommate) torturous saga; similarities proliferate and distract from the tale of a disheartened father, with limited capabilities, unearthing the “missing link”, proving Allison’s innocence. Interest in the film lies in the supporting roles of “Virginie” (impeccable Camille Cottin, “Call My Agent”) as a struggling actress aiding the confounded Bill and her daughter “Maya” (enchanting Lilou Siauvand) who salvages “Stillwater” from staggering sensationalism.
Director Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”) flirts with the “ugly American” malady; Bill is a misfit in a sublimely cultured habitat, but rescued, as Marseille unveils its seamy margins. Matt Damon’s Shakespearian portrait of a man whose love for his daughter transcends “Stillwater’s” reliance on a narrative of redundancy, minimally disguised as fiction.