Dark Waters

Rated 4.0

The real-life horrors of the Parkersburg, West Virginia, water crisis get a strong cinematic treatment from director Todd Haynes with Dark Waters, an earnest legal drama that spares us lengthy courtroom sequences in favor of in-depth looks at those affected on all sides of the case. Mark Ruffalo headlines the movie as Rob Bilott, a corporate attorney who winds up suing DuPont chemicals after a family friend reveals troubles on his farm with the drinking water. The film is based on the real life water horrors faced by the people of Parkersburg, with legal ramifications and health issues continuing to this very day. What makes this film work so well is its ability to avoid courtroom drama stereotypes. Ruffalo’s Bilott is a well-meaning, but flawed guy, who is a little slow on the uptake at first, and prone to medical emergencies because he can’t take the pressure. Tom, his boss (played by a strong Tim Robbins) is alternately supportive and demanding, not the typical top banana lawyer monster that often resides in these movies.