Director: Tom McCarthy
Cast: Matt Damon, Camille Cottin, Abigail Breslin
Release Date: October 26, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
STILLWATER follows Bill Baker (Damon), an American oil-rig roughneck from Oklahoma who travels to Marseilles to visit his estranged daughter (Breslin), in prison for a murder she claims she did not commit. Confronted with language barriers, cultural differences, and a complicated legal system, Bill builds a new life for himself in France as he makes it his personal mission to exonerate his daughter.
Please Note: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Stillwater’ accompanies Bill Baker (Damon), an average man who works as an oil-rig roughneck in Oklahoma as he heads to Marseilles to visit his estranged daughter Allison (Breslin) who is currently doing time in prison for a murder she claims to be innocent of. After the lawyer in charge refuses to further investigate her case despite potential new evidence being revealed, Bill decides to stay in this unfamiliar country and attempt to find the truth himself regardless of the language barriers and drastic cultural differences he’ll be forced to adapt to. Fortunately, his thoughtfulness in regard to a local woman’s daughter leads to Bill sparking a friendship with the woman and child and also receiving some much needed assistance from someone familiar with the local ways.
Directed by talented filmmaker Tom McCarthy (Spotlight, The Cobbler) from a screenplay that he additionally co-wrote with Marcus Hinchey (Come Sunday) and Thomas Bidegain (Rust and Bone) & Noé Debré (TV’s Parlement), McCarthy does a great job at the helm of ‘Stillwater’ guiding along this powerful tale with plenty of heart and patience. The film also owes its share of credit to the well selected cast which includes Matt Damon (Ford v Ferrari), Camille Cottin (Allied), Abigail Breslin (TV’s Scream Queens) and more, with most offering great if not at least capable performances in each of their respective roles. Nonetheless, Damon repeatedly steals the show with his tremendous performance in the lead.
‘Stillwater’ is a moving and quite beautiful film that explores one man’s refusal to abandon the daughter he failed too frequently before and the lengths he’s willing to push himself in an unfamiliar world in order to find the truth that might help free her from the prison she resides in, as well as the meaningful relationship he builds with a local woman and child along the way. It’s a wonderful film that’s loaded with tense moments as well as touching ones, complimented by breathtaking surroundings and a phenomenal performance by Matt Damon who fully envelops the role of an Oklahoma roughneck and never falters for a moment, delivering what’s certain to be one of his best performances in recent memory. The film also benefits from the capable guidance of talented director Tom McCarthy and the highly capable supporting cast at its disposal and while some moments nearing the conclusion may feel a bit over the top or less believable than the majority of the film, most of these minor elements are easily forgivable in the larger scope of this truly rewarding film. I would strongly urge everyone to try and find the time to check out ‘Stillwater’ at some point, and fans of Damon and/or McCarthy’s work in particular definitely won’t want to miss out on this one. It’s a touching and entertaining tale with a lot to offer and is well worth giving a chance.
Overall, ‘Stillwater’ is a touching and beautiful film about a man in an unfamiliar place and everything he must accept and overcome if he hopes to help his estranged daughter when she needs him more than ever, regardless of what it might take to accomplish that. ‘Stillwater’ is definitely highly recommended. It’s a fantastic film that delivers splendidly in almost every way, guided along beautifully by notable director Tom McCarthy and with a stellar performance by Damon that fans of the star in particular are sure to thoroughly appreciate. It’s a moving dramatic tale with a lot of beauty both in the story itself as well as in its gorgeous surroundings. For anyone already even the slightest bit interested in this one it should at least prove well worth a couple hours of your time and the cost of a rental.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Stillwater’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and offers a clean, sharp and richly detailed presentation from start to finish that does a great job of capturing the film’s beautiful settings and surroundings. It holds up smoothly even during the few darkly lit and heavily populated moments throughout, never resulting in anything occurring onscreen becoming problematic or negatively affected. Overall, this is a pretty wonderful high definition video presentation that never lacks or disappoints and it should easily satisfy fans of the film and first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, crisp and at times somewhat active audio presentation throughout. It utilizes all five available channels in order to send the score, along with bits of dialogue, crowd chatter and nature elements, plus plenty more throughout the various speakers at every logical opportunity and never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and should not disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Stillwater’ includes a few entertaining extras in the way of some brief Behind the Scenes Featurettes that feature interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are ‘An Alchemy of Viewpoints’ (running approximately 5 minutes in length), ‘An American in Marseilles: The Locations of Stillwater’ (running approximately 3 minutes) and ‘With Curiosity and Compassion: Director Tom McCarthy’ (approximately 3 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
‘Stillwater’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Focus Features, Participant, DreamWorks Pictures & Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
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