Stillwater Review – Dynamic, with Strong Character Driven Performances

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Stillwater, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, brings to the screen the story of justice, of hope against all hope, and a father who will stop at nothing to find the killer who framed his daughter.

The film begins in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with Bill, played by Matt Damon, helping clear away the debris left from a recent tornado. We travel with him through his day, and to his home. Whatever life he had, what remains of it is a faith in God, and his grandmother, Sharon, played by Deanna Dunagan.

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Soon Bill is on his way to Marseille, France, and until we arrive, we don't realize that his daughter, Allison, played by Abigail Breslin, is in prison, nor do we understand, until we see the visitor's card how many times, he has made the trip.

During the visit with her she slips a letter to him and asks him to deliver it to the lawyer on the address. She is desperate. Throughout the five years she has been incarcerated, she has maintained her innocence.

On this trip, as with the others, he is staying at a local hotel. On the way to his room, a young girl, Maya, played by Lilou Siauvaud, is playing soccer in the hallway. The next day she is locked out of the room and Bill makes sure she is given access by the front desk.

That night, her mother, Virginie, played by Camille Cottin, thanks him and explains if there is anything she can do. With the letter, in a language he cannot speak or read, he asks her to read it to him. She finds out that he is the father of the American student who was convicted of murdering her roommate. This interaction sets up the second half of the film.

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As Bill is alone in Marseille and determined to find the witness who allegedly confessed to the murder, he tackles the situation head on. He ends up in the hospital after a group of men, including the man, Akim, played by Idir Azougli. Knowing no one, he calls Virginie.

Not wanting to miss a visit with his daughter, he shows up his face swollen, bruised. She spoke with Sharon and when he questions Bill, he finally explains, the court would not reopen her case and he has been looking for him. This sets her off; she is angry, inconsolable, devastated, bitter, she accuses him of drinking, drugging and tells him "I never want to see you again."

For the next four months, he stays in France, finds a construction job, Virginie agrees to let him live at her home, he learns French from her daughter, Maya, helps around the house, fixes the plumbing, and seems to settle into the possibility of a second chance.

Until one night he sees Akim, which leads to an unforgettable and unanticipated surprise ending.

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Stillwater is filled with unexpected twists, with dynamic performances that drive the film. With well-written compelling characters, and a story that is clearly believable, the audience is invested in the outcome.

Matt Damon captures the essence of his character. The cast, each deliver strong performances and the four main characters, Matt Damon, Camille Cottin, Abigail Breslin and Lilou Siauvaud, present a different and unique aspect of life. They deliver dynamic performances, with strong interactions. They transport the audience into this life of unexpected light where there should have only been darkness.

The Blu-Ray and DVD bonus features include: the cast of Stillwater discuss their characters and the research that went into portraying them authentically; an American in Marseilles; and the cast and filmmakers discuss the thought and interest that goes into director Tom McCarthy's stories, and how he uses his natural curiosity about real life interactions to guide his filmmaking style.

Stillwater, the gripping suspense film starring Matt Damon, Camille Cottin and Abigail Breslin, and from Oscar®-winning director Tom McCarthy is available to own on DVD and Blu-Ray, featuring all-new exclusive bonus content. See it, buy it, own it.

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Country: USA.

Languages: English, Spanish and French Subtitles. 

Run Time: 139minutes.

Directed By: Tom McCarthy.

Written By: Tom McCarthy & Marcus Hinchey and Thomas Bidegain, Noé Debré.

Produced By: Steve Golin, Tom McCarthy, Jonathan King, Liza Chasin.

Cast: Matt Damon, Camille Cottin, Abigail Breslin, Lilou Siauvaud, Deanna Dunagan, Anne Le Ny, Idir Azougli, Moussa Maaskri, William Nadylam.

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