Stillwater: Film Review

Stillwater

Courtesy of eOne

Tom McCarthy‘s latest movie Stillwater had its premiere out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in July and we haven’t had to wait long for it to be released in cinemas.

Matt Damon stars as Bill Baker, an oil rig worker from Stillwater, Oklahoma who frequently flies out to Marseille in France to visit his daughter Allison (Abigail Breslin), who has been in prison there for five years. She was found guilty of murdering her girlfriend Lina and continues to protest her innocence, and Bill tries to do some detective work to clear her name during his latest visit, which turns out to be much longer and more complicated than he planned.

I thought this was going to be a very slow and serious drama but there are a lot of light moments to this and I laughed out loud a few times, which isn’t something I was expecting to do with this film. The script is very well written and I liked that there were plenty of everyday comedic moments, ones that are normal within a family setting.

The drama revolving around Allison and the crime (inspired by the Amanda Knox/Meredith Kercher case) is the hook that will pull everyone in and keep them intrigued until the end. It’s interesting and thrilling, that’s for sure, but I actually preferred the other side of the story – seeing roughneck former drug addict Bill forging a new life for himself in France. He enlists an acquaintance – Virginie (Camille Cottin) – to serve as his translator at the start of his visit and they become close friends, with him taking her daughter Maya (Lilou Siauvaud) under his wing. It was so lovely to watch him learning French, forging something like a family unit with them, getting a job and putting down roots.

However, the film fails to stick the landing and I was disappointed by how the last 15 minutes played out. It felt like it was building to a very exciting, game-changing climax but then McCarthy took the unexpected route and went for a more subtle and understated approach. He decided to not show certain key moments actually happening – they were either inferred or you found out afterwards – and that was a shame.

Damon clearly put in a lot of work for this role, particularly when it came to nailing the Oklahoma accent and bulking up to convincingly look like a labourer. He effectively transforms into this rough, mumbling, serious – and presumably Republican – guy from Middle America. Breslin isn’t in it as much as you’d expect and I would have liked her to have more opportunities to shine.

Even though they’re the big names on the poster, my favourites were the French stars. Cottin has such a lovely, warm presence and Siauvaud is a little star. She steals all the scenes she’s in with her cheeky, straight-talking, honest nature. She has to deal with some big emotional scenes and does a fantastic job. She also made me laugh the most and was just a joy to watch.

Despite my misgivings about the ending, I really liked Stillwater and recommend checking it out.

In cinemas from Friday 6th August

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Downsizing: Film Review

Alexander Payne‘s Downsizing was one of the films I was so excited to see at LFF, which is why it was one of the most disappointing. It had such an intriguing and original concept, but it just didn’t know what to do with it.

[Read more…]

Suburbicon: Film Review

Suburbicon

I felt confident about Suburbicon – what with it being directed by George Clooney and starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore – until the bad reviews came out following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival. I didn’t let that faze me as I wanted it to be good and I went in full of hope – and came away miffed about the mixed bag I had witnessed.

[Read more…]

Downsizing: LFF Film Review

Alexander Payne‘s Downsizing was one of the films I was so excited to see at LFF, which makes it one of the most disappointing. It had such an intriguing and original concept, but it just didn’t know what to do with it.

[Read more…]

London Film Festival 2017: Ten films I really want to see

There are so many films on the 2017 London Film Festival programme that I’m keen to see and I know I will never see them all.

[Read more…]

My Christopher Nolan top five

Christopher Nolan‘s latest effort Dunkirk comes out on Friday and while I’m in the minority of people who didn’t love it (read my review here), it certainly makes my top five.

[Read more…]

Jason Bourne: Film Review

bourne1

I loved the original Bourne trilogy but I never really felt like it needed more instalments so I wasn’t particularly excited for Jason Bourne because it seemed like a cash grab as the stories had pretty much wrapped up with 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum. And while it doesn’t really add anything new to the franchise, Jason Bourne is still a worthy film that reaches the same standard as the originals.

[Read more…]

Top Films for July

july1

A new month is here and once again, here are the films I’m most excited about seeing – sadly, nothing on the list is an original idea and it’s mainly sequels or reboots/adaptations. There are a number of obvious choices I have missed off the list for legit reasons, such as Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (this was popular before my time), The Legend of Tarzan (I’ve seen it and I don’t recommend), Central Intelligence (it’s alright) and The Neon Demon (I don’t think I’ll like it).

[Read more…]

My Top 10 Movies of 2015

ex1

Looking back over the past year, there have been some pretty damn good films. But I still had trouble picking my top ten – finding the first six was easy, but the remaining four were not as convincing. So many films I liked at the time, but over the passing months have left little impression. I finally managed to bring you my annual list, which is presented in no particular order.

[Read more…]

The Martian: Film Review

mart4

I have been excited for The Martian for such a long time and I even read the book in time for release, and this is even better than Andy Weir’s novel, which is something I NEVER say. My favourite thing about it is the humour – it is possibly one of the funniest sci-fis I have ever seen and the most feel-good film Ridley Scott has ever made.

[Read more…]