Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Review: Dark Waters

Release date: November 22, 2019
Running time: 126 minutes
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Mark Ruffalo, William Jackson Harper 

Dark Waters is a new legal drama about a lawyer trying to sue a powerful corporation, DuPont, over potential environmental contamination.  Robert Bilott (Ruffalo) is a corporate environmental lawyer that is dragged into suing one of the world's largest and most powerful chemical companies.  He unknowingly gets himself and his client into a multiyear fight that will test his courage, his health, and everything he believes in.  

Ruffalo is an underrated actor, and his performance in Dark Waters is simply amazing.  Robert Bilott is a very talented legal mind, but his character is quiet, a little awkward, and has a set of mannerisms that make you think you are seeing a different person.  And Ruffalo completely transforms for this film, taking on the persona of Bilott.  Ruffalo is the main focus of the story and gets the majority of the screen time, but the supporting cast--especially Anne Hathaway as Bilotti's wife Sarah and Tim Robbins as Billot's boss Tom--help propel the story along.  

Another surprising aspect of Dark Waters is that the legal drama itself seems relatively accurate.  Although some parts of film and overall case are likely exaggerated for the movie, for the most part this movie captures how crushing a large litigation can be and the consequences it can have on the person bringing the case as well as the community that person calls home.  From the tactics of delay, to drowning someone in discovery, to using legal notices effectively, the film feels like one of the most accurate movies I have seen.  The story itself is also compelling, and the theme of corporate greed overcoming environmental concerns seems to be particularly relevant in modern America.  However, despite me really enjoying the movie, it definitely drags towards the end (though that might just be an accurate showing of how long the legal process takes).  And some of the lines are overly dramatic, despite the writing being generally very good.

Dark Waters shows what a driven person can do against seemingly insurmountable odds.  It has a fantastic performance by Ruffalo, a relevant story, and a strong sense of authenticity and justice.  

Watch It

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