MATT Damon’s latest sees the all American star of Good Will Hunting and four Bourne films play yet one more man on a mission.

Here, Damon is Bill Baker, a roughneck oil worker who uproots to France on learning that his estranged daughter has been wrongfully arrested in Marseille. Allison (Abigail Breslin) has been charged with the murder of her friend and partner Lina.

With all legal options seemingly exhausted, Allison has all but given up when Bill shows up to clear her name. How he will achieve this is remains to be seen? The French legal system is complex and their language a barrier to the man from Oklahoma. Bill must rely on support from local woman Virginie (Camille Cottin) and her eight year old daughter Maya (Lilou Siauvaud)

Though generally well received by critics, Stillwater has met a stagnant response from Amanda Knox, the woman whose real life story the film is inspired. For four years, Knox was imprisoned in Perugia, accused of murdering British student Meredith Kercher. Only when the Italian Supreme Court acquitted Knox in 2015, was her innocence finally approved.

In Stillwater, the clarity of Allison’s innocence is less certain. To the benefit of the drama, director Tom McCarthy injects grey hues and hints that secrets may yet be unearthed. You can see why Knox is hurting. How often has Hollywood piggybacked the misfortunes of others in the name of a fast buck?

Such qualms might - might - just matter less were the changes enough to enliven the tale. Few, bar Stephen King himself, object to Kubrick’s restructuring of The Shining in the name of riveting cinema.

Stillwater suffers from the contradictions of its own existence. Bill, we are meant to believe, is a mess, a failure of a father and outcast. Matt Damon is far from such a description and either can’t sell it or is framed by direction unwilling to sway from sympathetic angles.

The plot, meanwhile, never truly sits well with the film McCarthy appears to be trying to make. The Spotlight director revels in complexity and exploring character above all. For a while, in the central third of the film, that’s exactly what we get. It’s in the opening and close that a cat and mouse storyline drags. The whole is watchable enough, just about. If only the waters were choppier.