DARK WATERS – A Review by Cynthia Flores


DARK WATERS – A Review by Cynthia Flores

Dark Waters tells the shocking and heroic story of corporate environmental defense attorney Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo).  He has just made partner at his prestigious Cincinnati law firm in large part due to his work defending big chemical companies.  He’s conflicted after he is contacted by two West Virginia farmers near where he grew up.  They believe that the local DuPont plant is dumping toxic waste into the area landfill.  That it’s destroying their fields and killing their cattle.  Robert risks his career and family to uncover a dark secret hidden by one of the world’s largest corporations.  Hoping to learn the truth about just what is happening, Bilott enlists the help of his supervising partner in the firm, Tom Terp (Tim Robbins).  They file a complaint that marks the beginning of an epic fifteen-year fight.  One that will not only test his relationship with his wife, Sarah (Anne Hathaway) but also his reputation, his health, and his livelihood.

The director of this film Todd Haynes is known for award-winning dramas such as I’m Not There and Carol.  Both were studies in human interaction.  He brings that eye to Dark Waters, so the relationships portrayed in the film are rock solid.  But this kind of film also requires a certain amount of action and tension to keep it taut.  Much like this year’s similarly based on actual events film The Report has going for it.  You can tell this film is a passion project, one of its executive producers was actually its lead, Mark Ruffalo.  The story needs to be told.  Unfortunately, it just wasn’t as entertaining as this type of “fighting for right” film needs to be to keep an audience’s attention for the whole two hours and six-minute run time.

Don’t get me wrong; it has its moments and the acting is top-notch.  However, with the pedigree this movie has, it should have been great.  For that reason, I give it a B rating.


Directed by: Todd Haynes

Written by: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Mario Correa

Rated PG-13

Selig Rating B

Running Time: 2hr 6min

Drama / Biography

Wide Release: November 27th

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Bill Pullman, Victor Garber, Bill Camp


The Selig Rating Scale:

A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

B – Good movie

C – OK movie

D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.