I’ve never been a fan of Todd Haynes’ stuff (my wife and I still laugh at how utterly bored we were trying to watch Carol without falling asleep). In this movie, Haynes abandons the indie flicks he’s known for to tackle a formulaic courtroom drama. It’s a very interesting story, but it makes for a rather lackluster cinematic experience. On top of that, we’ve seen this story so many times before (Erin Brockovich, A Civil Action, Silkwood, etc.).
Mark Ruffalo produced and stars, as Robert Bilott, who was recently made partner at his law firm, and is visited by an angry farmer (Bill Camp). This leads him to decide to fight DuPont over how the manufacturing of Teflon was poisoning animals near his farm, and people. That means we get to watch the underdog lawyer, dealing with a tough but understanding boss (Tim Robbins), and a frustrated wife (Anne Hathaway).
You’ll get that typical scene where the paranoid character is reluctant to start his car, for fear it will explode (we just had that same scene in The Irishman, where it made a bit more sense, as mobsters kill people with bombs, DuPont doesn’t).
There were times the movie was compelling, and interesting information is presented. Other times, I was just wondering why Ruffalo had weird facial expressions that made me think he was constipated from craft services.
I’ve stated before, how I hate the same songs used in movies. John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is one of those songs, but at least it’s being played here, in a movie that is taking place in West Virginia. The film gets bonus points for using the very appropriate cover of “I Won’t Back Down” by Johnny Cash, to close out the film.
Dark Waters, which sounds like a Pink Floyd/Roger Waters album title (sorry, movie titles have been bugging me lately), is not the most intriguing cinematic experience. You’re better off just reading the story online. The closing credits gave us interesting updates on what happened to these cases.
2 stars out of 5.