Quiet pool

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Bill Baker (Matt Damon) is an ordinary hard-working oilman from Stillwater, Oklahoma. He has an adult daughter, Allison (Abigail Breslin), with whom Bill has a very difficult relationship: he took little part in her upbringing, because when the girl grew up, Bill worked on all sorts of oil rigs, and in his spare time drank heavily and a drug addict.

Allison hated Stillwater, and as soon as the opportunity arose, she went to study in France, in Marseille. But there was a tragedy: at one point, Allison’s neighbor in a rented apartment, with whom the girl had sex, was found dead. Allison did not point to direct evidence, but she had motives, various indirect evidence, and the girl was sentenced to several years in prison.

Allison’s mother died a long time ago, and her grandmother’s mother-in-law, Bill Sharon (Dianna Danagan), visits the prison. However, Sharon herself is seriously ill, can no longer do without an oxygen machine, and then Bill has to go to Marseilles: he, unlike Sharon, does not know a word of French, but still tied with booze and substances, so at least is in common sense.

Bill flew to Marseilles, met with his daughter, and she said she had hope: there is a suspect – a certain Akim – who may be involved in the murder. Allison asks Bill to inform Lepark’s lawyer (Ann Le Ni), who is handling Allison’s case.

Bill meets with a lawyer, passes on information from Allison, but she says that this information does not allow to resume the investigation. Bill can’t tell his daughter because he doesn’t want to take away her last hope, and he decides to find this Akim on his own.

He has a lot of time to do in Marseilles: he gets a job analyzing the destruction caused by tornadoes, and it turns out that Bill became very friendly with the family of actress Virginia (Camille Cotten), who speaks good English, and her nine-year-old daughter Maya Show).


After reading the announcement of this picture in my head, of course, immediately surfaced Bessonovskaya “Hostage”, where a fairly combative retiree in search of a daughter abducted by vile Albanians drove the glorious city of Paris with half of the Albanian mafia. There is a kidnapped daughter – here is a daughter planted, there is Paris and Albanians – here is Marseilles and the Arabs, there is a retired soldier – here is Matt Damon, so Marseilles will be rushed Jason Bourne.

And I did not want to watch it at all, enough of these idiotic “Hostages” (there was a second especially good). However, just for the sake of variety, I looked at the reviews of viewers – and came to life. There they wrote that they hoped to get a new “Hostage” or, at worst, Born, and then some kind of sadness and longing green: no you run, no you fight, no shootings. Sad Damon, in the form of a sad redneck, sadly walks around Marseilles and leads a little girl by the hand. Some kind of madman, some viewers wrote.

Oh, I thought, this is already interesting, this can already be seen. Especially since the screenplay was not written by Besson at all, the film was directed by Tom McCarthy, who directed the sensational film “In the Spotlight” (by the way, I was going to watch it for a long time), and Matt Damon is a worthy actor. because no normal person can think of anything to do with the twenty million received for a role in a film, where you can not play at all, but walk here and there.

Well, in the end I looked. And he was very pleased with this circumstance, because it is a kind of “anti-hostage”: a vital and realistic drama, set in a very slow rhythm, and I would not call the film protracted, and these dimensions and a certain meditativeness clearly met the director’s task.

By the way, the name “Quiet Pool” is practically a translation of the name of the town Stillwater, where Bakers live. At the same time, there is no “quiet pool” in which there are known people in the film, this is such a false hint.

It is believed that the script is based on the story of American Amanda Knox, who in 2009 was convicted of killing a neighbor in a British apartment Meredith Kercher in the Italian city of Perugia. No direct evidence was found then, but Amanda was given twenty-six years. However, four years later the case was reconsidered, the evidence was found unconvincing, and in 2015 the sentence was overturned.

Amanda Knox then became an activist and journalist (article in “Wikipedia” in English about her), she wrote the book “Waiting to be heard”, which became a bestseller.

However, “Quiet Pool” is not a reconstruction of the case of Amanda Knox, and there is no mention in the picture that it is all based on real events. And there are many clear differences with the case of Amanda Knox: the action was moved from Italy to France, in the real case, three people were arrested on murder charges – Knox herself, her boyfriend Raffaele Sollechito and her boss Patrick Lumumba, and Knox was sentenced to long terms. and Sollechito, there was a widely discussed story about the harassment of the accused in the media, which, of course, affected the jury trial, and there in the end it was not possible to reliably establish who killed Meredith Kercher.

In this film, everything is completely wrong, and it is related to the real story almost only by the fact that an American student was accused of killing her neighbor in a rented apartment, nothing more. Nevertheless, the real Amanda Knox, learning that such a film is coming out, raged for a long time on social media with posts on “they stole my story” and threatened the creators of the picture with all sorts of lawsuits, but what she went bankrupt in this regard – is unclear. there are almost no intersections.

Matt Damon has an interesting and completely unexpected character in this film. Bill is such a classic hard worker from Oklahoma. In America itself, they are not even called rednecks (red neck – “red neck”), but roughneck (“rough neck”). Silent, inhibitory, clearly worried about his incompetent past and loss of contact with his daughter, completely foreign in Marseille, France, with his endless “yes, ma’am”, “no, ma’am”, “yes, sir”, “no, sir” – the character seems to be extremely primitive.

However, no, Matt Damon managed to create a very capacious and distinctive image. There really is not a gram of any chases, battles and so on. Bill tries to find this Akim, but he has to go to the Arab Quarter, he immediately scrapes specific pipes from the locals, so we do not have a fascinating detective story. True, one moment with a somewhat unexpected twist actually a thriller in the picture will be, but it does not change the overall style.

So what is this movie about? About how this American hard worker is gradually adapting to life in Marseille, and his friendship with the Frenchwoman Virginia and her little daughter Maya, to whom Bill is very attached. It’s a rather strange friendship – in the sense that it’s completely different people – but it still looks touching, vital and not manipulative. (And I immediately remembered a bad movie “2 + 1” with Omar Si, where he talked about his father and his little daughter, and this was just an example of a completely false and manipulative picture.)

In an interview, Matt Damon said that he and the director took a very responsible approach to creating this image. The actor himself knew nothing about Oklahoma and the rig workers, and he and the director spent a lot of time in these parts: they went with the workers to the rigs and carefully studied their lives, trying not to miss a single detail. They were told that driller workers wore jeans of a special type – with a flame retardant composition. And they are made to the touch as if made of cardboard, so the gait in them is very specific. Also, these guys look very similar, as Matt said: they grow a beard, wear a baseball cap and sunglasses.

And Matt showed perfectly well how this man, who used to watch only action movies and sports programs on TV and when Virginia was asked if he had ever been to the theater, answered in bewilderment: “Why should I go to this damn theater?” – and this is how he gradually begins to immerse himself in this culture and understand how diverse this world is and how completely different it is.

Allison played Abigail Breslin from “Welcome to Zombieland” (She also played great at the age of ten “Little Miss Happiness”). The role is small, but bright enough, Breslin is a good character actress.

Camille Cotten as Virginia is very good. Well, Virginia and Bill are so different – well, just like from different planets. Nevertheless, these people somehow get closer, somehow find common ground and help each other.

Maya played by Lila Shawo, for whom this is the first film, is just a miracle. The girl is incredibly organic, vital and natural. Matt Damon said in an interview that when he first spoke to Leela, he realized that he had to work with “nine-year-old Meryl Streep.” And he and the director tried to do everything to make the shooting for Lila as interesting, fun and comfortable as possible. And she did not disappoint them. But the girl is really amazing.

Great movie, just great, I didn’t even expect it. The staging, the excellent work of Matt Damon, the very good work of the other actors, the unusual interpretation of the seemingly hackneyed plot – I really liked it, I’m really impressed.

PS At the premiere of the film in Cannes, where Matt Damon came, the picture was given a five-minute standing ovation. In English-speaking countries, the picture has a high rating from critics and an average rating from viewers. In Russia, the rating on “Kinopoisk” is even a little higher than on IMDB. But, nevertheless, I listened to a couple of voice acting options that the film has – they spoil the impression. Aytunsky and intonation is not suitable, and from the point of view of translation it is full of lies, although it seems that the dialogues are extremely simple. The second option (I do not know from whom) with familiar voices – and the translation is much more accurate, and suitable voices are much better.

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