Five years ago, Bill’s daughter Allison (Abigail Breslin) was convicted of murdering her girlfriend while studying in Marseilles.
In prison, Allison receives word of a young man confessing to the murder at the party.
During a visit, she asks Bill to deliver a letter to her lawyer begging for help.
But she’s careful not to involve her dad directly. “I cannot trust him with this – he’s not capable,” she writes. When the lawyer refuses to act on vague rumours, Bill sets out to prove his daughter wrong.
But perhaps Bill has seen too many Liam Neeson movies.
When he rolls up in the sketchiest neighbourhood of Marseilles to ask dangerous questions, he expects the locals to comply.
It takes a brutal beating for Bill to finally realise he doesn’t have the “particular set of skills” required for this daughter-saving mission.
Director Tom McCarthy cranks up the tension as the blundering American tries to crack the case on his own, trampling over local sensibilities and making some stupid decisions.
But Damon makes Bill sympathetic, especially during along detour into domestic drama as he forms a touching friendship with single mother Virginie (Camille Cottin) and her nine-yearold daughter Maya (Lilou Siauvaud).
A preposterous twist sends the film back into Liam Neeson territory. But while the plot doesn’t hold much water, the human drama is compelling. Violent but caring, Bill is a very different type of all-American hero.