Review: Matt Damon's 'Stillwater' is engaging and flawed, like its characters

Matt Damon stars as "Bill" in director Tom McCarthy's STILLWATER, a Focus Features release. (Photo: Jessica Forde / Focus Features)

3.5 out of 5 Stars
Tom McCarthy
Writer: Tom McCarthy, Thomas Bidegain, Marcus Hinchey, Noé Debré
Starring: Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin, Camille Cottin
Genre: Drama, Crime
Rated: R for language

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: Bill Baker, a roughneck and absentee father, searches for redemption for himself and his daughter who is serving a prison term in France for killing her roommate. Bill travels to France to find a missing boy who could be the key to proving his daughter's innocence.

Review: Bill Baker (Matt Damon) is a blue-collar worker with inconsistent employment opportunities. He is a man of good intentions and broken promises.

Bill travels to France to visit Allison (Abigail Breslin), his daughter, who we soon learn is incarcerated for the murder of her roommate. The case was a tabloid sensation that, now years later, has faded to the back page of social consciousness.

Though her lawyer has given up on the case, Bill believes in his daughter’s innocence and offers her false hope. Allison believes in him because she has no other choice. He’s never been anything but unreliable.

Bill stays in town to chase new leads that Allison’s lawyer dismissed. Unequipped to survive in a foreign country, Bill relies on the kindness of Virginie (Camille Cottin), an actress and single mother.

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“Stillwater” is a mystery with occasional thrills, but the bulk of the narrative is a character study that explores a flawed man with little experience that extends beyond the oil rigs, construction sites and fields that he has labored in.

He wants to be invisible. Unfortunately for Bill, his daughter’s situation requires him to stand up, step out and be seen.