What starts off as a moving tale of father and daughter battling together through adversity is completely railroaded in the film’s final act, the strong performances unable to keep Stillwater afloat.
When new evidence emerges that potentially could support his imprisoned daughter’s (Abigail Breslin) innocence, Bill (Matt Damon) traverses the town of Marseilles to get to the bottom of it and prove his worth to his estranged kin. Anchored by an award-worthy performance from Damon, Stillwater is an intriguing tale that will immediately remind audiences of the Amanda Knox case from years ago (the writers were inspired by said case). Breslin herself is convincing in her role, but the film ultimately lets all of the actors down with its inability to figure out exactly what it is trying to say as its focus continuously shifts. Though Damon’s character is built up and draws viewers’ empathy throughout, Stillwater crosses into the ridiculous with plot developments that destroy everything that came before.
Yes, the setting is beautiful. And yes, the story has the potential to be equally as captivating as the seascapes often pictured. Stillwater fumbles its message, however, and leaves you unsatisfied after the lengthy commitment it asks of viewers (this was the general consensus from those I walked out with).
Though Stillwater has its moments, the film ultimately fails to put the full package together.
Stillwater hits theaters this Friday.
Photo from Variety