Today I’m having a quick look at the 2019 legal thriller Dark Waters, unfortunately, based on a very true story.
When corporate lawyer Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) does a favour for his grandmother by agreeing to investigate mysterious happenings at her friend’s farm, he discovers a horrific conspiracy that puts him on a collision course against the very sort of company he has made a career out of defending. The years that follow put his family, his career and his life at risk as he attempts to uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice.
There is no doubt that Dark Waters is a very gripping watch, but it is also infuriating. The film decides to focus a lot of it’s attention on the innocent individuals that get tied up in this atrocity, which makes it even more hard-hitting as you witness first-hand just how much the company DuPont destroyed lives, and the lengths that they went to to ensure that it was covered up. It would anger you if it was a work of fiction, but knowing that these events really occurred elevated my anger to extreme levels. Dark Waters really highlights the levels of corruption and evil that big corporations are capable of in order to protect their profits, and shows just how difficult it can be to hold them accountable.
But it also celebrates the fact that against all adversity, there are people out there like Bilott that are willing to fight for those that don’t have a voice. This is probably the best I’ve ever seen Mark Ruffalo performance-wise, as the film progresses you really see just how much it impacts Bilott, but you can’t help but be inspired by his dogged determination. Ruffalo is joined by a very strong supporting cast including the likes of Anne Hathaway, Bill Pullman and Bill Camp, each character having a part to play in this story that spans many years. Although at times the film does spill over into generic, over-the-top legal drama, it is more often than not grounded in reality and feels very raw and real.
If you’re a fan of legal dramas, then I can’t recommend Dark Waters enough. It’s slow at times, but the subject matter is so absorbing and the performances so good that I don’t think it will be hard for audiences to lose themselves in it. At it’s core this is a grand-scale David vs Goliath story that mostly feels helpless, but offers glimpses of hope and reminds people that there is good in the world and with enough hard work and dedication, even seemingly invincible corporate empires can be held to account.
My thoughts go out to all the people that were impacted by the DuPont scandal.
As for DuPont… fuck you.
I give Dark Waters a 8.5/10.