Dark Waters Review
What’s It About?
A corporate defence lawyer is persuaded by an acquaintance of his grandma to take on an environmental lawsuit against a giant chemical company in West Virginia.
Who’s In It?
Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right, Foxcatcher, Spotlight, & The Avengers films)
Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Les Miserables, & more recently The Hustle)
Other notables include:
Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River, & more recently A Perfect Day)
Bill Camp (12 Years A Slave, Joker, & more recently The Outsider)
Director: Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, Carol, & more recently Wonderstruck)
Watching a film about photocopying and email chains may not sound like the stuff of classic entertainment, but last year’s The Report, starring Adam Driver, demonstrates how wrong you’d be. And Dark Waters follows in a similar vein.
Directed, perhaps surprisingly, by Todd Haynes, this is his most conventional film so far, and sees a corporate defence lawyer in Ohio, Rob Bilott, blindsided by a farmer from his grandmother’s hometown in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
The farmer, Wilbur Tennant, is a desperate man, ranting and raving about the death of his herd of cows, and blaming local company, the chemical giant DuPont, for illegally dumping waste into the water.
Bilott is keen to fob off this crazed man, but as a courtesy to this acquaintance of his grandma, he takes a look at some of the tapes, before taking a trip out there. And the more he picks, the more he unravels.
But it takes its toll – on his career, on his company, on his marriage, and on his health. But will corporate might triumph over the truth?
A pet project for Ruffalo, and you can see why for it is an incredible story, Dark Waters is a gripping watch. Full of saturated colours and bleak landscapes, it is not a fast moving film, but stick with it as the lengths to which the chemical company will seemingly go, are quite incredible.
Ruffalo delivers a wonderfully understated performance, which is matched by the seething Bill Camp as the farmer. There is quality throughout the cast including Tim Robbins, Bill Pullman, and a somewhat underused Anne Hathaway too.
In A Nutshell:
A thoroughly absorbing film about corporate greed with a real David vs Goliath story, featuring a wonderful lead performance from Ruffalo.
The story itself
Mark Ruffalo’s performance
Certificate: 12 / 12A