Corporate greed, callousness and malfeasance, and one person’s relentless battle to bring accountability for the gargantuan human and ecological costs of that, formed the central tenet in Todd Haynes’ taut, topical and engaging legal thriller Dark Waters; and, where this classic David versus Goliath story – adapted from the NYT Magazine article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont's Worst Nightmare” by Nathaniel Rich – might’ve lacked in artistic bravado or ingenuity, it reasonably made up for that through assured making and seriousness of the topic. Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) is a corporate defence lawyer on the verge of partnersip at a respected law firm specializing in protecting the interests of big business; hence, when gruff, straight-talking farmer Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp) approaches him to investigate a DuPont plant, accusing it of gross negligence and cover-ups, he hesitates as this would contravene with the core objectives of his employer. However, as he starts digging, he uncovers grotesque evidences of the far-reaching consequences of what DuPont had been doing for decades with regards to its blockbuster products based on so-called ‘forever chemicals’. Unfortunately, not only does DuPont have massive pockets allowing them to stall and divert proceedings for years, their local influence as the biggest employers there turns Tennant into a pariah; and, to complicate the scenario further, Bilott must also fight tremendous personal obstacles to sustain such an uphill battle with no end in sight and no guaranteed payoffs. Ruffalo’s fine turn as the tenacious lawyer, along with the sharp script that aptly captured the tension, bleakness and moral outrage, elevated this beyond most other generic works. The support cast included Anna Hathaway as Bilott’s wife and Tim Robbins as his boss.
Director: Todd Haynes
Genre: Thriller/Legal Thriller/Biopic/Docu-Fiction