Poison in the Well (Dark Waters, 2019)

Dark_Waters_PosterFrankly, companies do not care about you. Amazon does not care about you.  And chemical companies really do not care about you.  And Dark Waters is about the fight to not just expose this to the world, but to hold polluters accountable for the destruction they have caused.

Dark Water is a legal drama that somehow manages to pace itself like some sort of action movie. It does not spend a lot of time establishing Ruffalo’s Rob Bilot. He is a lawyer and has a family, and quickly he finds a farmer, Wilbur Tennant, in his office demanding his help. Wilbur is certain that Dupont chemicals have been destroying the earth and cattle of his farm.

Hesitant at first Bilot does a little research…it does not take long for him to suspect Tennant is on to something. His firm is unsure at first, as they normally defend companies like Dupont.  But as time passes and information comes in that seems more damning, top people in the firm start to share Bilot’s conviction.

One of the most effective aspects of this film is how they sell the paranoia and demoralizing nature that can be part of challenging the status quo. In one scene, a man Bilot believes he could trust tells him he is sending all their research.  It is so many boxes, as they pull away it feels defeating.  It is clear they were inundating Bilot with so much they hoped he would give up or never be able to process it all and therefore miss something.

Dark Waters spans over a decade, and sometimes the time jumps greatly between scenes.  This method of transition lulls the viewer a bit as you kind of expect maybe jumping a couple years here and there…and then around 2006, the screen stays dark as the title card jumps year by year.

Mark Ruffalo gives a great performance and you see the years of not getting justice take their toll, the fear that he and his family are in danger.

Dark Waters got kind of overlooked last year, but it is worth locating and watching.

 

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