Director: Todd Haynes
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins
Release Date: March 3, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Inspired by a shocking true story, a tenacious attorney (Mark Ruffalo) uncovers a dark secret that connects a growing number of unexplained deaths to one of the world’s largest corporations. In the process, he risks everything – his future, his family, and his own life – to expose the truth. Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins and Bill Pullman also star in this gripping thriller.
Based on the New York Times expose, ‘Dark Waters’ accompanies a corporate lawyer (Ruffalo) who after being recommended to an old neighbor by his beloved grandmother finds himself embarking on a quest for the truth behind the local dumping from one of the world’s biggest companies that’s affecting life in his old hometown. Putting everything on the line including his career and family, he soon begins seeing hints of lies and misleading information from the company which leads him to sue the company in a nearly unprecedented move. But does one man stand a chance against one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world?
Directed by Todd Haynes (Wonderstruck, Carol) from a screenplay written by Mario Correa (marking his feature length writing debut) and Matthew Michael Carnahan (21 Bridges) which was based on The New York Times magazine article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” by Nathaniel Rich respectively, Haynes does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘Dark Waters’ carefully guiding the tense and powerful tale along with passion. The film also benefits a great deal from the talented individuals comprising the cast which includes Mark Ruffalo (Avengers: Endgame), Anne Hathaway (The Hustle), Tim Robbins (TV’s Castle Rock), Bill Camp (Joker), Victor Garber (TV’s Power), Bill Pullman (TV’s The Sinner), Mare Winningham (TV’s The Outsider) and more, with the majority offering solid and noteworthy performances in each of their respective roles for the most part, and Ruffalo in particular is truly exceptional in the lead.
‘Dark Waters’ is a moving, beautifully crafted and occasionally somewhat uncomfortable exploration of a true series of events and one man’s quest to not only uncover the truth hidden within, but to fight for the less financially prevalent folks that have suffered as a result of one company’s greed and negligence. Following the course of the legal suit over the years it occurred, while also diving into the local farmers and other folks who have found themselves struggling to survive following the effects of what they believe to be a dangerous element in the water; something they were guaranteed would not happen. It’s a well-made film in nearly every regard that does justice to the story it focuses upon, all with an emotionally charged aura and a touching look at one man’s willingness to do the right thing regardless of the potential consequences. This true tale is guided along beautifully by director Todd Haynes whose work behind the camera is greatly complimented by a stellar cast led by Mark Ruffalo that really helps this passionate and important story to work as well as it does. For anyone that enjoys a moving true story and/or is a fan of star Mark Ruffalo who is at his finest here, I would strongly suggest trying to give ‘Dark Waters’ a whirl when possible. It’s a tense, powerful and moving tale that’s worth taking the time to check out.
Overall, ‘Dark Waters’ is an important and unforgettable true tale about one man’s quest to find the truth about a dumping facility owned by a massive corporation, and everything he was willing to do to bring them to long overdue justice for their questionable deeds. ‘Dark Waters’ is definitely recommended. It’s an emotionally riveting and powerful film that benefits from a passion for the true events it’s based upon and the smooth guidance of director Todd Haynes, all of which is only further complimented by a powerhouse performance by Mark Ruffalo who is downright fantastic in the lead. For anyone that enjoys a touching true story (albeit with some unpleasant elements) with a quest for justice within as well as fans of quality filmmaking in general ‘Dark Waters’ shouldn’t have any problem proving worthy of your time and the cost of a rental.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Dark Waters’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful altogether and provides a nicely detailed and sharp, smooth presentation from start to finish that never falters along the way. It holds up admirably even during the various darkly lit moments, never causing anything occurring onscreen to ever become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Universal that shouldn’t have any trouble whatsoever pleasing the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack offers a clean, crisp and at times notably active audio presentation throughout. It consistently takes advantage of all five available channels in order to contribute to the ambience and feeling within by sending music, bits of weather, vehicle activity and more throughout the various speakers whenever it might be appropriate, and never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a nice 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Dark Waters’ includes a few decent extras in the way of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore bringing the film to life, featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. They include ‘Uncovering Dark Waters’ (running approximately 5 minutes in length), ‘The Cost of Becoming a Real Hero’ (running approximately 5 minutes) and ‘The Real People’ (approximately 2 minutes).