Ever since I saw Safe in a film studies class, I was all in on the work of Todd Haynes. 2015’s Carol is one of my favorite movies of all time. Beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, and a heartwarming/wrenching story. If you showed me the trailer for Dark Waters and asked me to guess the director, I wouldn’t come close to guessing Todd Haynes. It didn’t seem like something he would do. However, I like a good legal thriller involving big corporation scamming. This film was great. Its an interesting watch and its harrowing to think that a company could get away poisoning people for decades and not face repercussions.
The film is about an attorney who is approached by a farmer with an odd case. His animals and crops have been dying and these strange occurrences are linked to the water in a town in West Virginia. Upon further investigation the lawyer faces kick back from Dupont, the company that is allegedly involved and he finds out how difficult it is to challenge such a rich corporation. The events and depths of poisoning is startling as it involves thousands of people and the attorney feels the implications of the case on his own health.
I’m not sure how much of the film is truthful but its eye opening and maddening that heinous actions could be going on for years with no implications. This drew parallels for me to the Flint Water Crisis, which is still going on to this day. Todd Haynes presentation of this film is dark and foreboding. There isn’t a lot of positivity in what is going on and you can feel the kick back against Ruffalo’s character. There are so many quotes his character says that ring true about big government agencies lying and being more harmful than helpful. You can see the passion with which Ruffalo brings to his character too.
This viewing may be educational for many as it was for me. I like when a film is able to do that and make a strong point about something we may or may not have been aware of. Its another rather great entry into the filmography of Todd Haynes, a filmmaker who has style but not afraid to go outside of the box and tackle different challenges.