Dark Waters is the story of a corporate defense attorney who takes on an environmental lawsuit to try and expose a chemical company with a dark history of pollution.
Director Todd Haynes brings a certain somber tone to the story that is felt until the final minutes. While this is not a bad thing, an important story like this deserves to be seen and heard by a wide audience, but the tone and pacing will leave a lot of viewers looking at their watches.
Mark Ruffalo delivers a powerful performance as the aforementioned defense attorney. His passion for justice is felt through his character and brings weight to the importance of what is happening in the film. In situations where science and chemistry jargon is frequently used, a convincing teacher is needed and Ruffalo delivers.
The supporting cast of Tim Robbins, Anne Hathaway, and Bill Pullman are great, but unfortunately underused, and with the long runtime it’s a shame we did not see more of them. Bill Camp who plays a West Virginian farmer who first brings the case to Ruffalo’s attention is unrecognizable and very relatable in his plight against big business.
The film takes strides to relay the fact that this major company, Dupont, has unlimited resources to fight any lawsuits that come its way and the complete uselessness felt by those who oppose. When the film is starting to scratch at the surface of this negligence and Ruffalo is beginning to find out more of the information that is being suppressed it is very compelling and at times thrilling. Films like Spotlight and All The Presidents Men come to mind for this genre, but what Dark Waters lacks is the snap and storytelling that elevates others in this genre.
The story is important and timely and the passion driving this film is certainly not held in doubt. In the end the drawn out story is just too dull and moody to leave a lasting mark on its audience and will leave you questioning if it was worth the time.