Dark Waters

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Ruffalo’s persistence and fears about his environment resonates with the world we live in.

An ongoing fight against pollution rages on in “Dark Waters,” an informative film from director Todd Haynes, about a Cincinnati lawyer who defenses chemical companies changing his tune after realizing the damages caused towards people and the environment. Mark Ruffalo stars as that lawyer named Robert Bilott meeting a disgruntled West Virginia farmer named Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp), whose cows are dying as a result of the DuPont chemical company’s pollution.

But it’s not just the farmland; the poison is in the drinking water, and the results vary from child deformities and cancerous deaths. Years go on and Robert struggles to find the evidence to support this case, and each year takes its toll by his stress, job, and family.

Anne Hathaway co-stars as Robert’s wife, who scolds him because of their current sad state, regarding the case; and Tim Robbins as the head of Robert’s firm. And you also have Bill Pullman, William Jackson Harper, Mare Winningham, and Victor Garber in the cast.

“Dark Waters” does lag a bit at times, and isn’t as gripping as “Spotlight” (which Ruffalo starred in and Participant also produced). It should have more emotions and energy instead of just dampness.

But what makes the movie entertaining is its ability to remind us of our damaged environment. It’s not just the crops and animals, but also people, and that is really serious. Director Todd Haynes and writers Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan all based this entry on the New York Times Magazine article: “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare.”

The performances that really ignite the screen come from Ruffalo and Camp. Ruffalo is perfect in the ways he keeps his emotions on a steady balance, and how his character is persistent and stressed at the same time. This particular acting is at “Spotlight’s” potential. And Camp is undeniably poignant as an angry farmer who wants DuPont’s representatives to be locked up, and ends up dying from cancer. He portrays a nobody who ends up making a difference by informing the lawyer of this environmental damage.

“Dark Waters” wants to remind us about how environments are being tainted, and the companies responsible for that acknowledge the dangers. But they just don’t care. The affected people are victims, and we sympathize their turmoil.

The movie has the courage the overpower cynicism and anguish, and we support our hero on the home run. Open your eyes. The filmmakers remind you to do so.

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