Run time: 127 mins
Outrage mixes with despair in Dark Waters, an unsettling, slow-drip thriller about big business and the people who become its collateral damage.
Directed by prestige film-maker Todd Haynes (Carol), and produced by and starring Mark Ruffalo as corporate lawyer Rob Bilott, it’s the story of how the American conglomerate DuPont created carcinogenic “forever chemicals” (they stay permanently in the bloodstream) used in the manufacture of Teflon, and how they effectively released them into the environment.
Bilott specializes in defending chemical companies (Dupont is a client). He’s the least likely attorney, in other words, to sign on when a potential client crashes into his fancy office and threatens his bread and butter. That client is Wilbur Tennant, a West Virginia farmer who accuses the company of killing his cattle by dumping chemical waste where they drink. So this advocate for corporate America makes a visit to the farm to see for himself. He’s shocked by the graphic evidence. And suddenly the case becomes personal.
Dark Waters is an important project with an incendiary message about
corporate greed, environmental destruction and human exploitation. Sometimes painful to watch, but well worth the energy. (Jack Whiting)