Film Review: DuPont’s Dirty Water

Dark Waters

Dark Waters is a legal thriller that is based on the true story of attorney Robert Bilott’s efforts to sue the corporation, DuPont, for tainting the waters of a community in West Virginia.  It is based on a 2016 article by Nathaniel Rich published in The New York Times Magazine.  The screenplay was written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan.  Todd Haynes is the director.  Mar Ruffalo plays intrepid and determined corporate attorney, Robert Bilott.  The cast includes Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Camp, and Bill Pullman.

There have been plenty of films in recent years about some crusader going against the irresponsible big company that ends up poisoning some town’s water supply.  Not much new ground is broken here.  It’s still a pretty good film if a little slow at times.  The cast all did well, although some of the Southern accents seemed a little too thick at times.  I found this was a story that may have needed a little more room than what was afforded in a two hour film.  Maybe a limited series would have provided a little better breathing space for the story to unfold.  Anyway, Ruffalo does well enough in the lead role.  The case actually has gone on for years, and apparently Bilott is still a thorn in the side of DuPont to this day.

Even if the story seems a little too familiar at times, the movie was presented well enough for me to not hold a grudge over it.  I think most of the flaws the movie has is more due to the complex nature of these lawsuits than much else.  The ending scene has a very simple yet rousing moment that I appreciated, but I won’t spoil it.

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